The city of Dallas hosts some of the biggest names in music, covering all genres from rock, hip-hop, to even electronic dance music. However, what you may not realize is that it also hosts some of the most talented and unique local musicians. There are numerous concerts and festivals around the metroplex, including So What and Ubbi Dubbi Music Festival, that feature Texas’s finest talent, however, Lights All Night, TX’s favorite New Year’s Eve festival, stands out in its dedication to the local community.
It was a pleasure to see some of the tastiest local talents at Lights All Night, one of the city’s most recognized New Year’s Eve music festivals. Lights All Night, if you aren’t familiar, it is a two-day festival that presents some of the most innovative electronic dance music artists around. The headliners for this year included artists from various electronic music genres, including Zeds Dead, Porter Robinson, John Summit, Excision, and others. The famed New Year’s Eve festival offers something for everyone, with four stages dispersed over Dallas Market Hall loaded with beautiful art displays.
Of course, one of the most distinctive features that makes Lights All Night special is that it provides space for the best Texas musicians to assemble and perform as freely as they choose! Every local performer, from tech house to experimental bass, brought out their individual characteristics on stage and elevated them to the next level. Here are some of Dallas’ top musicians who played at Lights All Night and have big plans to take over in 2023!
Cookie Doe caused some funky waves at The Lonestar stage with his signature sound of tech and bass house! After having performed at numerous festivals and support names like INZO and Nitti Gritti, he certainly conveyed his classic sound in the finest manner possible.
“I’m still on cloud 9 about the experience,” he says. “It still feels surreal and all the love, support, and compliments I’ve gotten about my set have me feeling more inspired than ever. I’m super grateful for the Disco Donnie team for continuing to give me opportunities to perform and share my music and showmanship on a large platform.”
Brian Cook began his music career influenced by mashup music, where the legendary mashup artist, Girl Talk, inspired him. He also draws inspiration from artists who produce traditional electronic music, such as Justice and Rusko. The way he uses his voice in his own productions makes him aim to make intense but tasteful music.
“Initially, I was nervous about using my voice, but it worked out well in the end since my voice serves as a pillar,” Brian says. “I don’t want to get too deep into the technology of it, but I believe you need something that has a dynamic. With my music and sets, I want to have low points and high valleys. I think a lot of that comes from DJ’ing too because when you’re DJ’ing, you have to take risks otherwise it gets boring.”
As a DJ and producer, Brian’s primary goal is to expand his audience, whether through his music or his presence in the culture.
“There is so much great music out there that searching for the most avant-garde, up-to-date, and intriguing music might take days, months, or even years,” he says. “But at the end of the day, if we want this genre of electronic music to grow, we must attract new listeners. So to bridge that gap, I want to make music that old heads can enjoy and love, but also for people who may have never heard that specific sound before, making them want to explore it.”
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Known for his unique blend of melodic dubstep, trap, and future bass, JFrank has captivated dance floors all across the United States. His Lights All Night performance was a fitting showcase of what he’s become since he spent time at ICON Collective honing his skills.
“My experience at the festival was amazing, both in terms of getting to know the other headliners and performing my set,” Justin says. “I have to give a huge shout-out to the Waterhole stage crew – they did an amazing job running the stage for both days, and the fans showed out! There were people who stayed at that stage for the entire festival, so a huge shout out to those guys as well!”
When Justin Franklin’s brother Byron showed him the virtual DJ software in 2012, it wasn’t long before his music career kicked off. Although music had surrounded him all his life, this marked the beginning of his musical journey. He began fiddling with the software for the following year until Hardwell‘s Miami set at Ultra Music Festival caught his attention.
“When I saw him perform, that was the true beginning of my music journey,” Justin says. “If I had never seen his 2013 set at Ultra, I would not be in the position I am in now.”
JFrank’s objective has been to create melodic bass music with just enough melodic content, but also with enough bass that it still retains its heavy edge. As people discover his music, they will recognize it for the melodies, vocal chops, and most importantly, the mix of melodic content with bass. And because this year has taught him a lot, he wants to use his music to express his feelings, knowing that listeners can relate to each song.
“Whether it’s a banger and I’m ready to have a good time, or it’s a sad song and I want to cry, I hope to have my music translate within someone’s life to have an even greater connection with them,” Justin says.
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Lee Lephrechan brought in many pots of gold with his pleasing sizzling beats. Looking back on his time, he remembers Lights All Night as a genuine experience that he will carry with him for the rest of his life.
“It’s not often as an up-and-coming artist that we actually get treated like part of the show,” he says. “A lot of time we get seen as in the way, so it’s nice to have access to everything and hang with the big names. Being able to observe is also a treat to me. I like to take notes of everyone and everything I see, so I can learn how to apply it to my own brand and help grow.”
Due to his appealing sound and persona to both ears and eyes, Collin Beasley enjoys keeping people amused on the dance floor. It all started when he saw some local artists perform at the former Lizard Lounge in 2016, where he immersed himself in DJ’ing and producing.
“Watching them fueled a passion I wasn’t even sure I had,” Lee says. “When I got home from that event, I started learning and researching what it takes to DJ and produce. I then downloaded a version of Virtual DJ and started learning the UI. After some time, I purchased my first controller and started practicing more, which led me to perform at various house parties. Shortly after that, I upgraded to a DDJ sx and got my first real booking at the St. Patrick’s parade in Lower Greenville. It has been pretty much constant growth ever since.”
Lee is inspired by bands like The Prodigy and Bring Me The Horizon, and listened to many CDs of different genres. His performances are usually recognizable by the amount of force and excitement he puts into them, making his sets unmissable. No matter where and when he is performing, he always wants his music to be a secure and uplifting experience.
“My sound can go from hype house beats to acid techno with some drum and bass mixed with heavy dubstep,” Collin says. “You’ll always have an idea what to expect with my set, but never know for sure. Overall, I try to keep that dance floor moving in the best way possible so everyone enjoys themselves. Hopefully one day I can take my music to festivals and events around the world!”
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MadnoiZ tore the [metaphorical] roof apart outside at the Waterhole stage. It is always a guaranteed joyful and phenomenal experience with the boiz with their fusion of hip-hop and intense experimental trap!
“Lights All Night is a staple in the Dallas scene, which we’ve both been part of as consumers since 2015,” they say. “So to experience being on that stage and hyping the crowd to music that we’ve created ourselves was an absolute dream. It was an extremely humbling experience, and we’re manifesting to be part of many more Disco Donnie events come 2023.”
As two country lads who shared a love of hip-hop music, Viktor and Jacory’s musical journey began during their senior year of high school in Corsicana, Texas. Their time together quickly evolved into creating songs using their expertise in recording software and laying down verses after they instantly connected with back roading and freestyle sessions. They didn’t learn about the electronic dance music scene until around 2015, thanks to the renowned Lizard Lounge.
“We instantly fell in love with the community,” Viktor and Jacory say. “It wasn’t long before we started meeting the right people and diving into the promotion side of the industry, but it was always in our blood to make and perform music.”
MadnoiZ’ passion for DJing and production was sparked by watching DJs entertain the crowds and energize them. They sought to cater to the sound they are now renowned for developing due to when they entered the market at a time when trap music was popular, with certain artists, in particular like TYNAN, Monxx, Apashe, TroyBoi, and more. Their live performances have therefore had a significant influence on the recognition they have achieved.
“People have told us the chemistry captivates them we share while on stage,” they say. “It’s almost as if the bond we have as friends rub off on our crowd and allow people to feel an almost family-like connection to our sets. We like to make as many personal connections as possible with our fans before and after our sets. Also, our gimmick as mad scientists I feel sets us apart from other artists. We do our best to tie that into our branding and our sound as much as possible.”
MadnoiZ devotes time and effort to marketing and social media to establish their presence because they want their fans to leave their performances with lifelong memories. The pair asserts that it is crucial for them to create a set that becomes more of an experience than just a presentation, after learning how lovely the electronic dance scene is.
“We hope to contribute a positive impact in all our encounters,” Viktor and Jacory say. “Our fans are what drive our motivation and determination to be successful. So giving back to them in a positive manner is a top priority. If we can influence even just one person positively, whether it’s motivating them to pursue their own dreams or just putting a smile on their face, we take that as a win in our book. Music has always been our therapy, and we want to give the world a taste of our medicine!”
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It is always an amazing and thicc experience when Thicc Boy performs. With a fusion of hip-hop, trap, and experimental bass, he brought the Lights All Night energy level up from 0 to 100 real quick.
“Lights All Night was the second music festival I ever went to, and somehow it became the second one I got to perform at,” he says. “It was even dope for me to share that stage with a bunch of people I consider my good friends!”
While developing and creating hip-hop beats in St. Louis, Connor Eldridge began his true after attending a Ganja White Night performance in 2018. Liquid Stranger and LSDream, who both co-exist in the wobbly bass vibes, served as inspiration for him, as well as artists like Eprom, Tsuruda, and Chee. He likes to explore the wave of experimenting with various bass sounds, as he works to identify his own element in his music.
“My style centers around dubstep and I definitely live on the weird side of that genre,” Connor says. “If nothing else, I hope that my distinctive voice will continue to be my attempt to sound unique.”
For the past few years, Connor has learned a lot about consistency within his music. He also wants to be a person who innovates and pushes design into areas where others might not be looking.
“I’ve also spent a lot of that time building up my vault of music, as well as making connections and preparing bookings all over the country to carry consistency into the rest of my career.”
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Thomas Black, a renowned figure in the Texas dance scene, demonstrated his remarkable talent with a standout performance at Lights All Nights. With his unique blend of bass and trance music, he was able to create an otherworldly atmosphere, captivating the audience with his enigmatic vibe. For him, music festivals such as Lights All Night offer an all-encompassing, captivating experience.
“I think it’s important for people to remember to let that feeling take over for a bit,” Thomas says. “Disconnect… you’re allowed to get lost from the outside world for a bit. Take advantage of that time.
Before he even realized he wanted to be a DJ, when Thomas was in middle school, his father handed him a burned CD labeled “Dark Techno” and nothing else.
“I put the CD into my little beige old-looking computer, gave it a listen, and instantly thought it was cool and unique,” Thomas says. “I also remember attending my 6th-grade dance and being the boy who had all the glow sticks in his hand, replicating the ultimate raver guy, which eventually progressed into high school!”
Fast forward to his college days, Thomas began DJing at fraternity events across the state of Texas, and his career quickly took off from there.
“Even now to this day, I have people who will come up to me saying they remember me DJ’ing at schools like Texas State University and such,” Thomas says. “Overall, it has been a natural evolution from DJ’ing at college parties to performing at various shows!”
Thomas Black was initially enamored with Deadmau5, and he even recalls once purchasing a Mau5 shirt from Hot Topic back in the day! As far as new age music goes, he has been looking up to artists like SVDDEN DEATH and ATLiens, as he aims to incorporate hard dubstep elements into more techno material. Thomas also takes inspiration from many artists from the Netherlands, like Moksi and Yellow Claw.
“I feel like many people dislike it when DJs are always on the microphone, but during my sets, I always interact with the crowd,” Thomas says. “I always talk and joke around with the crowd, because I believe you have to enjoy the moment and be involved with your crowd, and that is my way of doing so.”
Thomas states that when it comes to using his music to give back to the community, the most important thing to him is to make one person happy, or at least to make that person’s evening, week, etc. better.
“All it takes for me is one person to get to the point where it is much more than one person,” Thomas explains. “So even if I climb to the top and accomplish everything I will have wanted to do, improving somebody else’s life is all that matters. I want to spread happiness to as many people as possible through my music.”
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There’s no denying that Vanilla Guerillaz delivered a wild and unforgettable performance at Lights All Night. Those who missed it truly missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. With an electrifying set that blended heavy hitters and crowd-pleasing pop tunes, the audience was swept away in an ecstatic frenzy that was simply unforgettable.
“We met a ton of people, hung with some of our best friends (shout out to DFW RAVE FAM), and had an amazing experience we will never forget!”
Alex’s musical talent spans several instruments, having honed his skills on the guitar and keyboard since the age of ten. On the other hand, Nick’s background as a performer dates back to 2008 when he joined a hip-hop dance crew in Houston. Their passion for electronic dance music was ignited in 2014 when they attended their first EDM event, and since then, they have been making waves in the industry as DJs and producers. Inspired by the sounds of Skrillex and Flux Pavilion, their work showcases a dynamic mix of heavy beats and innovative ideas.
“We offer a perfect mixture of syncopation and groove,” Alex and Nick say. “We feel that a lot of dubstep only calls the listener to bob their head forward, but yet neglects the backwards bop.”
Throughout their inspiring musical journey, Alex and Nick have learned that patience is sometimes the ultimate tool. In the end, all they want to do is inspire others to get up, get what they want, and persevere.
“Everything in this world has a ladder you must climb, whether it is steep or not,” they say. “Although ours is high and steep, all the climbing has been paying off lately,” they say. “The road may be tough, and you might make some mistakes, but take your dream, make it a goal, and go grab it. We’re living proof!”
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Lights All Night stands out as a truly unique music festival that provides a platform for the best Texas musicians to showcase their talents. From tech house to experimental bass, the festival is a melting pot of sound and energy, featuring a diverse lineup of local artists. Dallas’ top musicians have already made an impact with their performances at Lights All Night, setting the bar high for 2023.