Until a week ago, being able to say you’ve seen Eric Prydz live in action on American soil was a bragging right for few, and a far reach for many. For New Yorkers, in the last 6 years alone, we’ve only had the chance to see him a meager three times — but let’s leave it at two-and-a-half to be fair. As you might know, Pacha’s last attempt to bring the progressive house legend back to New York didn’t go according to plan. An event filled with hype and anticipation left fans angered, but more so saddened. Round two during Thanksgiving break was an opportunity for redemption – this time with an extra treat in tow, an opening set by his apprentice, Fehrplay. Read past the break to see how Pacha and the Pryda camp went above and beyond in mending things with the New York crowd.
Wednesday wasn’t only the return of Eric Prydz, but the American debut of Jonas Von Der Fehr – better known to the dance music world as Fehrplay. We know – you’re thinking American debut? That’s right — a measly seven months ago the world had no idea who this guy was. All it took was the Eric Prydz effect to spark interest in an entire community of enthusiastic audiophiles. We had the chance to sit down with the nerve-rattled Jonas before his set to see how his meteoric rise to fame was going.
At the ripe age of 25, the Norwegian-born, London-native found his dance music inspiration in the UK club scene in 2008. If you do the math, that means he kick started his career at supersonic speed — making his American debut on a stage that has been rocked by the likes of Madonna and The Rolling Stones. When asked how him and Eric got in touch, his humble response was as if he dropped a cassette tape off in his mailbox and hoped for the best. I guess it helps to know what was on that cassette tape, right? His track “Phantom,” along with “Incognito” and “Runaway” were part of a three-track package that his manager was able to get in front of Prydz. Once his talent was discovered, it wasn’t long before he was rocking crowds of thousands of people at festivals in the UK.
On June 25th, his Incognito / Runaway EP made its debut on Pryda Friends, and the rest is history. Once backed by the legend that is Eric Prydz, the blogosphere was hungry for more, and more is what we got. Not a few months passed and his second Pryda release, “Nightride,” was out in the wild and further solidified that Fehrplay was not a one-hit wonder, but a stand out act to follow.
His inspirations are clear – his big-room progressive guise is tailored with tasteful precision that mimics Prydz’s style in many ways. The recent release of Eric’s “Everyday” came with a remix from Fehrplay as well. When asked how this project came to be, Jonas shared what a summer in Ibiza with Eric Prydz did to his career. Being able to bounce ideas off one of his early influences, and being dealt the cards that he was, humbled him to no end.
It is no secret that modern day dance music has weaned off of DJ abilities and has focused on producing. A world that was once measured by prowess behind the turntables is now scaled on quality of production, and how often they are released. To stay relevant with the over saturation of house music is no easy task. When asked how he deals with this challenge, he shrugged the question off and stated that he was in no rush to get anywhere, but was trying to focus on improving his technical abilities behind the decks and further develop his sound.
His three-hour warm-up set that followed would be the first opportunity for us to see if Fehrplay had what it takes. The task was a daunting one, especially with New York’s educated fan base and the never-ending lineups of super-star DJ appearances. He wasted no time and started deep and groovy, dropping tracks like Maceo Plex’s “Sex Appeal,” Maya Jane Coles’s remix to Florence and the Machine’s “Spectrum”, and Dusky’s remix to Justin Martin’s “Don’t Go.”
Maceo Plex – Sex Appeal (Original Mix)
Florence and the Machine – Spectrum (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
Justin Martin – Don’t Go (Dusky Remix)
His track selection was impressive, and his technical ability showed a promising career ahead. It’s unfair to expect for his productions to match that of his live performing – there is a contrast between producing from the comfort of your home and providing a live soundtrack on the fly. This only comes with time, and we’re confident that Jonas will find his groove as he continues to tour and find himself as an artist. Other tracks that caught our attention were Adam Beyer & Alan Fitzpatrick’s “Human Reason,” Tiger Stripes’ remix to Martin Solveig’s “Give It To Me,” and Maceo Plex’s “Walking Alone.” The night was properly warmed up, and it was time to hand things over to the Pryda man.
Martin Solveig – Give It To Me (Tiger Stripes Remix)
Adam Beyer & Alan Fitzpatrick – Human Reason (Original Mix)
Maetrik – Walk Alone (Maceo Plex Revenge Mix)
We had the opportunity to speak with Eric before his New York arrival, and he promised that this show would be one for the books. Every year, when summer ends and winter grips, Roseland Ballroom has hosted some of the most memorable dance music events we’re fortunate enough to attend. In 2010, Deadmau5 invited Kaskade and Calvin Harris to play alongside him on Halloween. A line up like that today is nothing but a dream, but it’s a place like Roseland that sets the bar for acts in their rising stages. Last year Kaskade had a double header on Halloween as well, this time bringing production far surpassing anything we had ever seen. With the hype of Prydz’s return, something special was sure to be brewing.
Upon arrival, a full LED wall stretched across the entire length of the stage; top to bottom. This was not your run-of-the-mill event – it was clear that all stops were pulled for this would-be glorified occasion. Three hours of Eric Prydz — in a concert hall setting — is the most ideal place you’ll ever catch the Pete Tong proclaimed “Godfather of the Swedish House Mafia.” His productions and DJ sets are unmatched, staying true to his sound and playing out some of the most tasteful progressive house that we see get released.
His intro sequence was infectious and hypnotizing – having the stop-you-in-your-tracks effect no matter what you’re doing. His transitions between tracks were flawless and his set was imaginiative and innovative — you’d be hard-pressed to see Prydz play the same set twice. A review about Eric Prydz is not about his track selection, but the overall experience. There is no question that this show ranks among the best we’ve seen in all of 2012, and potentially ever at the legendary ballroom. Some of the tracks that we thought went off the hardest were his originals “2Night” and “Melo.” With word of Prydz moving state-side, we hope to see more of these kind of events in the future.
Eric Prydz – 2Night (Original Mix)
Pryda – Melo (Original Mix)