After a stellar run of putting on focused DJ sets, Laura De Palma and Mike Bindra’s Made Event company is bringing Electric Zoo—a multi-DJ cross-genre electronic festival — to Randall’s Island this Labor Day weekend. Recovering trance-a-holic Eva Hagberg talks to them about the impetus behind the festival, the breadth of the lineup, and the good old days of Twilo.
Flavorpill: Doing an electronic music festival on Randall’s Island in New York, is kind of an amazing idea. How did you come up with it? And what are you hoping to get out of it?
Laura De Palma: We’ve been thinking about doing a festival for quite some time and have been working up to it. The big Central Park shows we were working out way up to doing larger outdoor events.
Mike Bindra: We never understood why New York doesn’t have an electronic music festival, because it’s such a big market for it here. Detroit has one, Miami has one, the west coast has tons of stuff happening; it just made sense.
LP: The other thing is that over the years we were on the lookout for a suitable venue, which we believe we found in Randall’s Island. And this year it was free.
FP: Why do you think there wasn’t an electronic music festival in New York already?
MB: It’s not that easy to do a festival in New York City, and I think that electronic music hadn’t reached the point where it was –
MB: Yeah. Or maybe it was viable, but it wasn’t seen as such by people in a position to pull it off directly. I think over the past twenty years, electronic music has really grown and developed into something that’s here to stay. It’s getting bigger all the time; it’s had peaks and valleys but overall the trend has been that it’s bigger than ever.
LP: I think one of the things is that when we started doing outdoor events, probably seven or eight years ago, our idea back then was ‘Let’s bring this out of the clubs and into the sunshine.” It just seems to have worked and been growing – it works in Europe.
MB: We’re not reinventing the wheel, they’ve been doing this overseas for a long long time. I guess we’ve always looked over there with a bit of envy.
FP: I had such a great time at your PVD shows in Central Park… 2007 was epic.
MB: I remember looking around and thinking “I can’t believe we’re getting away with it.”
FP: Why is this an all ages festival?
LP: For us, the way we see it, one of the aspects of the festival that we’re hoping to achieve is that it’s something for everyone. For younger people, people that are in the prime demographic — in their twenties — and then people with kids, having fun, hanging out in the sun. The idea is to make a day of it and have something for everyone.
MB: Also I think our thought process was that this music’s been around for twenty years now; a lot of people that are into it are all grown up and don’t go to clubs anymore. A lot are in their late thirties/early forties.
LP: And what about the next generation? The kids who can’t get in clubs yet but they’re into the music, this is an opportunity for them to come and experience it.
MB: They can listen to some good music, eat some good food, they don’t have to be raging all night in the dark club.
FP: Can you tell me a little bit about the lineup?
LP: The idea behind it is that it’s the Electric Zoo, we wanted it to be a zoo of electronic music. The thought process behind the programming was to have something for everyone. We haven’t hit every single subgenre of electronic music, but we certainly gave it a good shot for the first year.
MB: We wanted to represent the full spectrum of electronic music. That was the goal – not to be a techno festival, or a trance festival, but an electronic music festival. Which meant that we wanted to try and represent as broad a swath as possible. Part of it was out of necessity – we need to be pulling from all the different places to get the numbers that you need to make an event like this viable. So it was a creative decision, but also a business decision.
FP: Are you hoping that this will be the first of many?
LP: Yes. We sure hope so.
MB: We hope it’ll be an annual thing.
FP: How did you get all the DJ’s on board? The lineup is pretty incredible.
MB: We’ve been around long enough that we have a reputation. Otherwise it might have been a tougher sell. But people do get excited about New York.
LP: Generally speaking, everyone from artists to potential festival-goers has been excited about it.
MB: The feedback and response has been great. People seem to be really excited about the lineup.
FP: Let’s go back in time. How did you start Made?
MB: It’s a long story, goes back quite a while. We started as a record label, and that was done with another partner. And then we were also in the business of doing events, and thought it’d be a great idea to name the events company the same name as the label. Then the label went defunct, and we were left with the events company, which Laura and I have been doing together for eight years.
FP: What’s your background?
MB: I used to book all the DJ’s at Twilo.
FP: OMG! Carl Cox, Twilo, 2000. Amazing.
MB: Yup. That was a year before it closed.
LP: We’d been together before Twilo opened. I was a fashion model, and then I quit that and Twilo closed and we started working together.
Electric Zoo takes place September 5 and 6 on Randall’s Island. Click here for artists/*ticketing info.
Note: Prices go up at midnight tonight.