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Andy Warren is a resident DJ and co-founder of Believe You Me, a Portland-based collective of holistic party animals.
First stepping behind the decks in the dark clubs and bizarre living room after-hours of Denver circa 2010, Andy discovered a gift for leading dance floors on strange and wonderful journeys. Dancers and heads are drawn in by his strange, moody, melodic, and uplifting selections taken from the deep end of the house/techno spectrum.
Beyond DJing, Andy’s talents as a event coordinator and musical curator have given a breath of fresh air to the Portland underground community, where he currently hosts a successful monthly club night, as well as the occasional warehouse or open-air extravaganza. He has hosted and shared the decks with an impressive lot of up and coming and veteran talent over the last four years in in Denver, Ho Chi Minh City, Portland, Seattle, LA, San Francisco, and Black Rock City.
Andy’s name is becoming more talked about on the length of the west coast and beyond, thanks in part to his curation and DJ residency for Burning Man’s Panda Lounge, a San Francisco based theme camp. Aside from hosting some of the most renowned musical talent on the Playa, Panda Lounge is known to be a hidden gem of a party with a welcoming, intimate, and consistently magical vibe.
Andy is firmly committed to raising the bar with each event and performance, and is deeply dedicated to the art of DJing as a way to express himself and connect with dance floors in a meaningful way. His passion for cultivating a positive dance-music community by exposing people to profound music and good energy suggests a bright future for Andy and the North West. With a lot of big plans on the horizon, you can expect to see plenty of party magic coming from Andy and his Believe You Me outfit in 2015 and beyond.
Where are you from and what are your musical upbringings?
I’m originally from Colorado, but I grew up moving every couple years because of my Dad’s job in the Air Force. I also lived in Australia, Italy, London, and the deep South as a kid. My Dad is a big music nerd, so I grew up on a steady diet of classic 60’s and 70’s bands like The Beatles, Harry Nilsson, The Who, Elton John, and Led Zeppelin.
Can you tell us how you got mixed up in this crazy world of electronic music?
I can remember two albums that totally changed my world, and definitively got me into the world of electronic music. One was Radiohead’s “Kid A”, and the other was Boards of Canada’s “Music Has The Right To Children”. Both of these records still blow my mind every time I listen. They opened me up to the world of IDM and experimental music, and eventually led me to discovering my love for House and Techno.
Can you tell us a little about the city you live in now and the scene there?
Portland is a unique and quirky city. We have a lot of young, creative people living here, and a lot of talent as well. There has been an ebb and flow to the size and strength of the House and Techno scene here over the last few years, but there is definitely a really good, tight-knit core of heads who are devoted to keeping the culture alive and well. The more I travel and experience the scenes in other cities, the more I come back appreciating the warm and supportive vibes we have at so many of our events here. People come out to dance, participate, and interact. They truly love the music and pay attention to it closely. The local talent here is insane, and all the promoters and DJs work together to keep producing good music and events, while building up more support for underground dance culture in general. There are a lot of people doing it for the love here. Vibe, good sound, and curation have always been the main focus. I think 2015 is going to be a legendary year for the Portland underground scene and I am thrilled to be a part of it!
What does it mean to be a “Holistic Party Animal’?
I’m going to hand this one over my partner and co-founder of Believe You Me, Robert Ginkgo, who wrote up a very nice summary of what it means, and what Believe You Me is all about.
“Holistic Party Animals embrace dance music and parties as essential elements of conscious living and, even healing. Partying can leave you energized, inspired, and deeply connected to community, or it can leave you depleted and hungover. When you care for yourself through meditation, exercise, nutrition, a positive attitude, and harm-reduction strategies to offset intoxicants, you are able to show up at a party as your best self. And you’ll be doing everyone else a massive favor by truly contributing to the energy of the party, instead of just consuming it. Everyone who helps to raise the vibe of the party is a Holistic Party Animal. DJs and promoters can go even further by creating a welcoming atmosphere, keeping the levels right, remaining open to suggestions from the community, and promoting consent culture, to name a few.“
Can you tell us a little about your Sound Camp at Burning Man, Panda Lounge, and your mission with this project?
I stumbled upon Panda Lounge at my first burn in 2011, and had a really profound experience dancing there one night to the sounds of my good buddy Atish, who was playing an epic 8 hour marathon set. I fell in love with their vibe and the magic of deep, melodic house music. I was honored to play for them in 2013, and to step up to join the crew in 2014. Last year, I was able to get involved with the curation, as well as host my own party, which was a dream come true for me. With the help of some of the best DJ’s and crews on the playa, we programmed 24 hours of music a day for 7 days, and I’m proud to say we successfully pulled off one of the most epic marathon parties of all time. It really is one of the most magical hidden gems of the Playa, and because of the limited space, sexy Pandas, and the views on the deck of the sky-bar (15 feet off the playa!), its always a uniquely beautiful and intimate vibe. We have some very special Panda parties on the horizon in San Francisco, and plan to host the best party on the planet at Burning Man 2015.
Who are some of your favorite Producers and Labels at the moment?
Man, there is so much amazing music coming out these days! I’ve been really loving stuff from producers like Traumprintz, Daniel Bortz, Frank & Tony, Martin Buttrich, and Moodtrap. These are producers with a ton of depth, and are really good at creating “thick” textures and capturing moods with their music. There is also a crazy amount of good stuff coming from Romanian producers right now. Guys like Mihai Popoviciu, Livio & Roby, Egal 3, and Blagoj Rambabov are making incredible music these days. Some favorite labels right now are Doppelgaenger, Kindisch, Supernature, Vekton, Sissor & Thread, Amam, Conceptual, Katermukke, Poker Flat, Soma, Cityfox, and Diynamic.
When you are not listening to electronic music, what are you listening to?
Mostly Dub, Prog-Rock, talk radio, rock classics, and IDM/experimental favorites like Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Animal Collective, Radiohead etc, but I guess a lot of that is electronic too…
Anything big planned for 2015?
I’m really looking forward to the next year of Believe You Me parties in Portland and beyond. We have a few underground events in the works as well, where we get to collaborate with some pretty amazing artists, designers, and DJs. Open air daytime events are something we want to focus on a lot this year. Burning Man, Desert Hearts, and spending some more time in the studio playing with stuff and collaborating.
Can you tell us a little about this mix?
I actually spent a lot of time noodling with this mix. I wanted to capture the unique mood of rainy Portland winter, without getting too dark. I’ve been loving a lot of spacey, dubby sounds lately, so there is a bit of that, as well as some some of the really deep, groovy, melodic stuff that I would say characterize my sound and the sound of my Portland crew “Believe You Me”. It was recorded live at our Portland studio a few weeks ago.