There is always a lot of action happening on multiple levels at an Insomniac event. This weekend was no exception. As the heavyweight promotional company held its annual Nocturnal Wonderland at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino, plenty of activity was on display. As reported in OC Weekly, this was the electronic dance music (EDM) festival’s final instance at this location, and counting total attendance on both days, 80,000 energetic ravers turned up to mark the occasion by dancing to numerous sets of penetrating electronic music.
Without probing too deeply, any casual observer could witness the usual cornucopia of colorful sights and sounds which permeated the atmosphere. The prevailing positive vibes allowed patrons to enjoy themselves despite temperatures that briefly got into the 100s. Protected by sunscreen, attendees flew their freak flags high; showcased their rave fashions, booties and bitties; marveled at the spectacles of the festival’s stage designs, art installations and one another; guzzled liters of water; and, of course, danced, danced and danced some more. Alternatingly, they relaxed in one of several misty shaded canopies or, for those who had rented space at the adjacent campground area, retired to their tents to recuperate.
Beyond the sights of colorful costumes, glitter, and youths rolling on ecstasy, there was the music. From the extensive list of DJs that performed throughout the weekend at any of the four stages—or at one of the campground’s silent discos—every guest had their favorites, which varied in terms of EDM subgenre and chart rank. The Weekly had an opportunity to speak with Hydrah (Katie Kramarczuk) and Anakim (Riccardo LeBron), through whom this writer learned of the ancient influences that drive their respective beats.
Based out of Los Angeles, Hydrah is an electronic music producer, composer and singer with a background in classical music. Her classical training informs her electronic music compositions in terms of her preference for composing in minor keys, especially A and E minor. As far as her stage name’s relation to the multi-headed mythological beast that Hercules conquered, she explained that the choice was driven by her fascination with marine life. “I’m kind of a nerd with ancient civilizations, so that’s kind of why I chose Hydrah,” she said. “But also I have a background as a scientist. I have a strong draw towards the marine world, and hydra … is a pupil stage of a jellyfish.” Last year, Hydrah released an EP called Nostos, which means “homecoming” in Greek, and while the recording is not necessarily rooted in additional Greek mythology, it does signify the artist’s own epic journey home—or odyssey, if you will—back to Minneapolis, after having established herself as an electronic music producer in LA. Hydrah will be dropping a progressive house track that she collaborated on within the week. Visit her site to follow her ongoing musical journey.
When we talked to Anakim, not only did we learn a thing or two about how ancient Hebrew and Sumerian texts have inspired his interstellar musical philosophy, but we also discovered the inspiration behind the creation myth of Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, Prometheus. “The Anakim, they say, are [giants] descended from a group of beings who came from outer space that are written about in ancient Sumerian texts,” he explained. In the bible, Goliath, who was defeated by a young King David, was the descendent of the Anakim. It was these giants who inspired the story of Scott’s film. “I really liked the story. I wanted my music to sound huge,” Anakim continued. “I wanted to create a very big sound, and I thought the Anakim was a perfect representation of that because they are giants who are descended from other giants who come from outer space.” Looking to the future, Anakim will be opening up for Deadmau5’s side project Testpilot at the end of the month and will soon be releasing a new EP. Stay tuned to his site for more celestial news.
Insomniac has not yet announced the future location for Nocturnal Wonderland, but their loyal patrons don’t have to worry about that yet. They have already announced plenty of upcoming events on their site, during which EDM fans can don their festive apparel, blast off into other dimensions, or channel ancient influences while they dance the nights away.