The 25th annual Lollapalooza kicked off in Chicago’s Grant Park Thursday, paving the way for new artists, old favorites and everything in between to come together for a massive, jam-packed festival.
The Badger Herald had the opportunity to talk with Nick Weiller, better known by his stage name Bro Safari, an EDM DJ and producer who went from festival attendee to performer in a span of two decades. Now on the other side of the stage, Weiller spoke about his come up, the evolution of dance music and his current “Pretty Good” tour.
The following interview was edited for style and clarity.
Badger Herald: How does it feel to be performing at a festival of this size?
Nick Weiller: I went to one of the first [Lollapaloozas] as a kid in Atlanta about 22 years ago, so to be here now it’s really cool. It’s surreal. Each festival has their own specific quality that makes it appealing for artists to play at. I hate to be cliché and say things like it’s surreal but it’s true. Especially since this is a really important [festival] for me.
BH: Any particular why this one is important?
NW: As a kid I came to Lolla, so to be back 22 years [later] performing and still making music is crazy for me. Knowing that I was able to get it to a point where I’m actually playing at a such a big festival is so cool.
BH: In those 22 years, what can you say has changed about the festival scene?
NW: Dance music has changed. The genre and the crowd has definitely changed. I think festivals now have been legitimized. Back then, Lolla was only a touring festival and since then, look how many festivals are here now that weren’t around 22 years ago. It’s more than just a concert as this point. People travel to go not just for the music, but for the experience.
BH: EDM faces a lot of criticism, and many say that anyone with a computer can be a DJ. What do you think it takes to stand out or make the music unique?
NW: There is some truth to that, anybody can be a DJ. But that doesn’t mean everyone can be a producer DJ. The majority of the acts you see now, they aren’t just DJs, they are producer DJs. You can’t just buy some magic software and make a good song with it, you need to know how to mix. That is what sets people apart in the industry, having the musical ability to go beyond just matching two records to the same tempo, because that’s honestly a big part of it.
BH: You hinted at an upcoming release with longtime collaborator Dillon Francis, can you give us a hint as to what we can expect?
NW: We’re doing it for an EP that I’m currently working on. The EP is nothing too crazy, only three or four songs, but that collaboration will be a part of it. [The song] will be a blend of harder trap with kind of a moombahton groove to it, which a lot of people have been dabbling in right now. [Francis] and I just love it so we went with it. There is definitely a different type of beat structure because we’re trying to do something different, but still have it work on the dance floor.
BH: You’re kicking off the “Pretty Good” tour pretty soon, after a summer of festivals, what prompted you to hit the road again?
NW: At the end of the year, I like to get a run of shows in to hit the markets that I don’t hit during the year. I’ve been to a lot of festivals in bigger cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, so [the “Pretty Good” tour] is a good way to make it to smaller cities and play for fans that aren’t able to go to bigger festivals.
BH: Madison is going to be one of those smaller cities that you hit during your tour. Do you think it’s different performing for a solely college-based crowd?
NW: For a college-based crowd, it’s definitely different. Everyone is there to party, that’s just the nature. On top of that, the venue is typically smaller, which I love. I love to perform in 200-300 [person] capped rooms. It’s fun because it’s more like a house party. It’s also refreshing coming off of festivals. It’s a completely different experience because of the massive crowds. It’s difficult to connect because you can’t see if everyone is into [the show] because it’s intimidatingly large. I definitely like smaller shows and college towns.
BH: Any fun plans while you’re in Madison?
NW: I remember the last time we were there, we walked around a bit, got some good bar food. Fried cheese, I think? Every city we go to, we try to take it in and do whatever the local thing is to do.
Bro Safari will be performing at Liquid Madison Sept. 9 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $20 for 18 and up and $15 for 21 and up.
Check out some of his tunes below.
— Badger Herald Arts (@BH_Arts) July 29, 2016