Drawing crowds by the hundreds of thousands from around the world, the 21st edition of Ultra Music Festival (UMF) is about to kick off. This year, the festival will take place on Miami's beautiful Virginia Key, an isolated island that's only accessible via Rickenbacker Causeway or by boat. Luckily, the festival organizers have been working around the clock to make sure festival goers can easily access the island and find suitable accommodation there. Similar to New York's Electric Zoo, there will be shuttle ferrying ticket holders to and from the event.

Last year, the annual event — considered to be the premiere dance music festival in North America — showcased the rebirth of the Swedish House Mafia. This year, acts range from Armin Van Buuren to Jai wolf. The three-day EDM festival has something for everyone, ranging from mainstream to up-and-coming artists. Ultra continues to grow bigger every year, featuring more good music, positive vibes, and an all around unforgettable experience. We can't wait until we're back down in Miami interviewing artists and bringing you the best in dance music.

According to Miami Community newspaper, UMF brought $148 million dollars into the Miami Dade County area in 2017 and this number was expected to topple over $200 million in 2018, with over 165,000 festival attendees contributing to the local economy per day. UMF has increased its total attendance by 266% since 2005 when 45,000 people attended. Undoubtedly, the city of Miami understands the economic impact Ultra has on the area and continues to work with and support event organizers to ensure everything is perfect for party goers. The question is, will Virginia Keys be even bigger and better? I guess you'll have to join us down in Miami and find out.

Check out some highlights from Ultra Music Festival 2018 below:

Follow Ultra Music Festival on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Youtube

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EDM powerhouse Above & Beyond was built by producers Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness and Paavo Siljamäki — three pioneers in the dance music scene. Outside of their own songwriting, the group also runs their own musical production and record label, Anjuna Records. They just broadcast their radio show, ABGT300 (their 750th radio show in total), live from a sold out Asia-World Expo center in Hong Kong, and don't appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Most recently, they dazzled audiences with their album "Common Ground," a chart topper that followed the success of We Are All We Need and Group Therapy. A die hard fan by the name of Anna Kismaric said of the band, "Above & Beyond has the ability to craft music that captivates their listeners both in the club and while listening with their headphones."

The video for Above & Beyond's new collaboration with up-and-coming artist Spencer Brow, 'Long Way From Home,' just dropped, and features the vocals of Anne Kalstrup & Hendrik Burkhard. With its gentle, melancholic wave of undulating melodies, underpinned by the quartet's rounded, dance floor-ready sound, the song touches on the loneliness that many touring artists experience.

Paavo goes on to say, "Both Spencer and myself know all too well what it's like being a touring musician. Filled with totally amazing, high moments, but also lonely moments in hotel rooms far away from home. We'd both been travelling for hours feeling somewhat lost and lonely and ended up spending the day together talking about it all. One thing led to the next, and we found ourselves making a song about it all in a makeshift hotel room studio."

Here is 'Long Way From Home' by Above & Beyond and Spencer Brown feat. Anne Kalstrup & Hendrik Burkhard:

Above & Beyond and Spencer Brown feat. RBBTS - Long Way From Home www.youtube.com


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Music Features

Speaker of the House Talks "Rock Me" and More

New single "Rock Me" is a departure from the artist's signature sound.

Philly-born artist and producer Dylan Orvell, AKA Speaker of the House, has been a steadily-rising star since he released his first single, "Wide Awake," in 2016.

25 million streams later, he's gone on tour supporting The Chainsmokers and Marshmello and has made the rounds across the festival circuit, playing Coachella, Camp Bisco, Hangout Festival, Moonrise, and Groove Cruise. He's had a massively successful year, releasing four singles, including his most recent powerhouse, "Rock Me."

Popdust caught up with Speaker of the House to discuss his career so far and what fans can expect from him in 2019!

What is music to you? What is the best explanation you can give as to how you define it?

Music takes on two roles in my life. It's a language and expressive tool for me to put my thoughts and feelings onto a canvas when I'm making it. And it's a means for escape, appreciation, and introspection when I listen.

How old were you when you decided you were going to make production into a career? Who are some of your earliest inspirations?

I was 20 years old when I decided that I had what it takes to succeed in music. I had been playing guitar my whole life, and was also savvy with computers and gaming. It was a perfect marriage of my skills to produce music on an electronic platform. My earliest inspirations were Deadmau5, Skrillex, Rusko, Kaskade, Flux Pavillon, and Porter Robinson.

Congrats on all the single releases this year! "Rock Me" is a little different than its predecessors in sound design. Can you tell us a little bit about the process behind its production?

"Rock Me" is definitely different from my last two singles. It's at the tempo I like best for house music. I was able to use some more signature sounds and a vibe that is reminiscent of my earlier electro and deep house work. It has a carefree vibe which is rare in my music. It shares just a few similarities with what I have coming next.

Who are some of your favorite current producers? Of all time?

Current favorites would include Lane 8, Rufus Du Sol, Tame Impala, Chris Lake, and Don Diablo. All-time list would include, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Justice, and Avicii.

Do you prefer producing originals or reworking other artist's songs? Why?

I prefer making originals! I'll admit remixes are always great, but nothing compares to writing, recording, and producing your own records. With no assets it can be discouraging, and "Rock Me" is an example of how to make an original with little to no assets. However I'm at a point now where I am lucky enough to be working with some amazing vocalists, writers, labels for 2019; and that puts these next originals in a different ballpark.

You've performed at several festivals, including Coachella and Hangout. Do you have a favorite and what do you love most about playing at festivals?

Coachella was my favorite festival to perform at. Everything about it. The organization and staff were exactly how each festival should be. The crowd that showed up to my set was so excited and positive, and fun to interact with. The atmosphere and location is unmatched. Checked all the boxes.

Touring-wise, do you have any shows coming up? Where can fans catch you live?

I'm absolutely looking forward to going back to touring, and I can't wait to reunite with my fans, but this time in the studio has been amazing. It's going to be a short window until some of the bigger records I've made reach the airwaves, and starting in 2019 I'll be at a great point to come out of the studio and hit the stages!

If you hadn't taken the music route, what career path do you think you would have chosen?

I have no idea. I think my skills and interest were mostly in science and medicine, and I would have pursued that until I found something that drives my heart. If not for music, I would have searched for something else. I never wanted to do something for work that I didn't enjoy. I couldn't.

How would you sum up your music in two words?

My life.

Follow Speaker of the House on Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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Progressive House Legend Tritonal Premieres Video for 'U Found Me'

With the release of their 3rd studio album, "U & ME," the two are embarking on their biggest North American tour to date.

Austin music duo Tritonal has been paving their way with through the dance music scene within the progressive house genre. Producer/DJs Chad Cisneros and David Reed are best known for hosting the Tritonia radio show on Sirius XM, and have made it the DJ Mag top 100 on several occasions. And they don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon: with the release of their 3rd studio album, "U & ME," the two are embarking on their biggest North American tour to date.

We're honored to premiere the music video for "U Found Me," which is evocative of a California summer day, and has strong "you belong here" vibes. It makes perfect sense, too, as Tritonal is known for being a key unifier in the dance music scene.

Describing the origins of their latest album, they've said:

"The title for our latest full length album, U & ME, is a very simple pointer toward unity and love that we feel is inherent in life itself. Ultimately, we are all connected. In fact, everything in the universe is connected. Music allows us to express that connection through sound. There is so much inherent divisiveness in our culture today, and we wanted to flip the "you vs me" or the "us vs them" dialogue on its head. "My Country," "My Team," "My Race," "My Beliefs," "My Social Group" — they all are ideologies people identify with to enhance their false sense of self, and can be divisive instead of unifying. Through them, people make themselves "right" and others "wrong," and define their identity through their enemies, the "others," the "nonbelievers," or "wrong believers." This identification leads to suffering. Hopefully, our music can act as a light that shines upon one simple truth: love."

For a complete list of tour dates, visit Tritonal's website.

Follow Tritonal on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud

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The French electronic artist is taking her first album on the road.

Composer and producer Chloé Herry (AKA CloZee) has established herself as one of the hottest upcoming artists on the French electronic scene.

With more than 300 concerts around the world in the past three years, CloZee has performed at top festivals like Coachella, Lightning In A Bottle, Shambhala, Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, Buku, Envision, and Ozora. Audiences love her surprising style-mixing bass lines, funky off-beat percussion, and unique incorporation of world instruments with emotional cinematic sounds. Her tracks are about to reach 40 million streams on Spotify and she released her first full album Evasion this year.

We caught up with CloZee to chat about her music and upcoming worldwide tour.

What is music to you? How would you define it?
Music is a bridge, a universal language. It brings people together and transcends cultural differences. That's what I love the most about it, and this is why I create music.

Where did your interest in music stem from?
I'm not sure. I listened to music all my life, it's kind of part of me. The main catalyst is probably my mother who listened to a lot of different music all the time. There was always something playing in the background when I was a child.

What inspires you?
Anything. Traveling, touring, meeting new people, nature, other artists, dancers, etc.

Which city are you looking forward to the most on you tour?
All of them, but I always have a crush on Denver, CO!

Have you been to NYC before?
Yes, last week's show was my fourth time.

What do you love most about the city?
The high energy and the great community of artists. Also, the choice of all the awesome restaurants. (I love food!)

What do you love about creating music?
The fact that we can collaborate with anyone, regardless of language, country, or culture.

What was your inspiration behind two of your favorite songs?
'Aurora' - I composed this music while remembering all the sunrises I experienced in my life. 'Our Voices' - wanted to compose a powerful track for women after the #MeToo movement started.

Where can readers go to find out more about you?
Anywhere on the internet. But if they want to know something specific, I have a facebook group where you can interact with me directly: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clozeetribe.

What do you love most about performing at festivals?
To play for a lot of people who probably never heard of me before, to try to get new fans. Also being able to check out music before and after my set, and just hanging out and walking around.

Where can fans see you perform live?
I can't announce them yet. I'll be mostly in Europe, but will play a couple of shows in the U.S. this spring.

How would you sum up your music in two words?
Escapism, bass.

What feelings do you associate with your music?
Positivity, motivation, imagination, and confidence.

Follow CloZee on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Ajunabeats star sits down with Popdust for an intimate interview.

Having made his Anjunabeats debut earlier this year, GRUM has quickly become a favorite of trance and EDM fans worldwide thanks to his modern take on classic progressive and trance influences.

GRUM, who DJ Mag recently lauded as having "the magic touch," has produced a Radio 1 Essential Mix that has gone viral. He remixed artists like Sigma, Martin Garrix, Gareth Emery and Above & Beyond, to name a few, and lent their songs the infectious beats that GRUM is known for. He is also coming off some electric sets in Hong Kong as the Asia-World expo, that cemented the DJ's talent as internationally appealing.

GRUM #ABGT300 Live at AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong (Full 4K Ultra HD Set) www.youtube.com

The next generation of Anjunabeats performers, including GRUM, promise to launch the label into a new realm of superstardom. Now, GRUM promises fans a new trip into rhythmic bliss with forthcoming album, D E E P S T A T E.

Pop Dust had the chance to sit down with the music-maker to pick his brain about his musical inspiration, the upcoming release, and more.

What is Music? How would you define it?
Personally, music is the one thing that keeps me going, through thick and thin. I'd define it as the universal language, a way that people from different cultures or languages can connect on the same level through shared appreciation.

Where did your interest in music stem from?
I did well in a music test in school, which meant that a trumpet was given to me and I was given lessons. Instead of playing the sheet music, I tried to work out how to play the stuff that I was hearing on the radio. Then I discovered the Human League and Ferry Corsten, and really wanted to work out how they made those sounds - and now here I am.

What Inspires you?
I go through different phases of inspiration. For my first album I was really into 80s sounds. At the time it was quite amazing that you could recreate a lot of those classic synthesizer sounds using soft synths on a laptop. Over time, I have gradually gone back to my trance and club music roots though - that idea of euphoria and energy. Its fun to try and approach that in new ways without going back to simple 140bpm stuff.

Which city are you looking forward to the most when you tour?
Probably LA as I have the most friends there and the shows are always great. I probably have my biggest fanbase either there, or in New York.

Have you been to NYC before?
Yes, many times.

What do you love about the city?
I'm not a big city kind of guy, but I do love the energy and buzz the city has - as a visitor. Its nice to go and experience that then go back home to the slightly slower pace of Scotland.

What do you love about creating music?
My favourite thing in the world is the initial buzz when you get a good idea going. Obviously that tails off after you've heard it a thousand times and make hundreds of adjustments, but that first phase is magic. The key is to try and then finish it as quickly as possible while you're still in the zone.

Where can readers go to find out more about you?

What festivals are you performing in this summer? Where can fans see you perform live?
I just did a bunch of US dates this past month, but coming up I have a sold out London open to close show, Toronto, Montreal, Prague, Paris, Amsterdam, and an India tour.

How would you sum up your music in two words?

'Deep State'

Follow GRUM on @grummmusic on Twitter and check out his music on Spotify and SoundCloud.

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