Ten years ago—what feels like a century—a group of people itching to dance gathered for what would become one of the most impactful forces in dance music. After a decade and hundreds of parties spanning 38 cities and bringing 60 releases, Lee Burridge’s All Day I Dream has solidified itself in the dance music world. To celebrate the birthday, Burridge comes with a three track solo release on his label.
LeeeEP comes follows a series of releases with Lost Desert, including Melt, featuring “Mibale” and “Lingala.” The EP features a remix of “Satellite Girl” by All Day I Dream friend Tim Green. Flaunt got the chance to catch up with Lee Burridge about LeeeEP, All Day I Dream’s globe-trotting, and more!
In the past you’ve mentioned Full Moon parties in Thailand and Burning Man being inspirations for the vibe you work toward at your own parties. How have you been able to implement what you love most about these influences into All Day I Dream, while making it completely your own?
Both the examples you’ve used left a lasting impression on me in my life that stuck. One common thread was that both experiences revolved around the community of people I felt a part of. I’ve actively tried to make people feel they were a part of the experience rather than an attendee. I think it’s the attitude really and being prepared to spend time and focus energy on the people that support us rather than just being focused on taking their money. It’s about giving. In regards to aesthetics I try not to directly copy things seen in places like Burning Man. Well, apart from one of the first large structures that I had built. For inspiration I sent a photo of a David Best BM temple to my designer. He didn’t really get the memo and pretty much rebuilt the whole thing. Oops..sorry David. I like the feeling of being inspired by how things made me feel. Then over time ideas come to me. Many actually at night while I’m asleep. I’ll wake up and scribble or draw things. Most look like a lunatic who took pen to paper but some had become the basic ideas that are translated and turned into the structures. I guess these are my dreams realised.
All Day I Dream has become known for its dedicated and open-minded community. What role have you played in developing this? Do you also choose fellow performers/label mates based on certain aspects of their personalities that you feel would fit within the brand’s ethos, or do you normally go strictly by their music?
I felt instantly welcome and a part of something special at the first electronic music party I ever attended. Meeting such a wide array of diverse souls who gathered around music and the experience of dancing together was and still is central to how I view the musical experience people should have. Language, race, age, sex or what ever else seeks to divide us doesn’t seem as prevalent within the electronic music scene. The door is open to everyone and you’re welcome. Come on in! That’s a beautiful thing to me. Human beings gathering together that experience positivity with each other. As with everything in life I knew the music All Day I Dream explores wouldn’t be for everyone. This in itself was a filter and I believe appeals to people with similar traits. There’s a certain feeling the music exudes that's soothing and beautiful. It definitely leans more feminine. It reaches into us all and comments us with our emotional side. This kind of openness extends out and connects the crowd and has become the much bigger community experience. People not only come back for the music but also for each other. I’ve never felt more special than when I felt a part of something bigger than myself. I set an intention when I first started ADID which was wanting to make people smile. A smile is an invitation to another person. A sign of positivity. It’s powerful. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by hundreds or thousands of other smiling human beings. It feels pretty good! We’ve said many times “the party is going to be that little bit more special if you’re there” and, it’s true. The energy, vibe, love and warmth the community have for each other is palpable. In regards to the artists, it’s super important to me that those who join our artist community understand and exude a certain kind of feeling too. Mostly, artists are actually happy souls sharing their art but there have been few along the way who’s intentions or egos weren’t in harmony with our ethos. I guess I’m fairly attuned and sensitive to this and, so far, feel the artists of ADID are pretty amazing human beings. You’ll not find them hiding out in VIP areas sipping champagne. You’re more likely to find them on the dance floor or talking to the fans who love their music. Again, it’s that openness and kindness I’m drawn to.
On that note, All Day I Dream has been to countries that are considered more “conservative” by Western standards (ie Turkey, Dubai, Lebanon). What was it like playing these places for the first time, and did you ever have any worry that the crowd/local government wouldn’t be as receptive to the All Day I Dream ethos? What’s the secret to successfully translating this ethos to a different political landscape, and what other places to you hope to spread this movement?
Luckily we tend to work with local promoters who understand the climate and landscape. Obviously, I know we come from a place of love, positivity and happiness but we also need to understand there are some countries where partying could potentially be seen as disrespectful if the correct attention isn’t paid to how we do things. We always make sure we understand the full scope of what we can and can’t do. Wherever you go in the world though (so far at least) there are always people who want to experience this kind of happiness and listen to the music we believe in. I wouldn’t personally throw or attempt to do illegal events just to make them happen in certain countries with more stringent rules but am alway seemingly able to find the right balance and level of respect to make things happen. I truly believe it’s going to be possible to share our vision pretty much anywhere as music is universal but patience is key as certain countries are still opening up. Music has been a vehicle for change at certain times politically. In some ways a peaceful protest against the establishment's rules. I think it continues to carry that torch and play an important role. I hope we are able to bring people together no matter where they’re from and forge unity and openness between them even if they might disagree in other aspects of their lives.
From the start of All Day I Dream, you’ve employed colorful and nature-derived production elements to contrast the concrete jungles that much of the parties take place in. How have you fine tuned the brand’s production over the years to fit your vision, and do you see it evolving in the future?
I started feeling dance music events in general felt very masculine. Giant screens, metal trussing etc fitted into clubs with chrome and mirrors. There was no softness or natural elements. I’m not knocking that aesthetic but really liked the idea of the contrast of hard surroundings softened by some more natural elements. I loved the idea of creating an oasis in a wasteland or a garden on the roof of an old industrial building. The music is obviously a key element to your experience but so are your surroundings. Hanging up material or flowers above people's heads instead of lasers and smoke really warmed up these vacant spaces. I also loved the idea of creating beautiful structures for people to dance under or for us to DJ in. The structures are modular so have a familiarity each season of events yet are always evolving. It’s unlikely many people noticed but we also tried to have the flora slowly grow and take over the structures though the season. I’d love to tell you about the future but prefer people are surprised each year with the evolution of the aesthetic.
Would you say that creating such a cohesive visual element to pair with the music is essential to making your brand stand out? And how have you seen the “All Day I Dream aesthetic” influencing other parties, if so?
It’s amazing how much impact the event had on other events actually. Nowadays living walls, flowers, natural elements and buddha heads seem to be everywhere. For me, the journey since day one was about creating a complimentary atmosphere achieved with the music and the production combined. Adding beauty to starker spaces and playing gorgeous music changes the environment. Creating a more feminine energy at the events for me was the key. I’m not sure that was a focus before at events but I felt the more masculine vibe was overdone and, in lots of cases translated to less girls at the parties themselves. I’ve always been happiest at an event with a balance of male and females. Too many times I saw the dance floor being 90% men. It seemed strange as girls have a great taste in music too but sometimes the environment wasn’t comfortable if it was all guys. The crowd is also a part of how the party looks and feels. Creating a welcoming mood really rebalanced things and I believe other promotors saw this and slowly but surely adapted too.
Day parties are of course nothing new, but it feels like All Day I Dream really helped bring about a resurgence in one-off daytime events, specifically in dance music. Do you agree with this notion, and have you witnessed a bigger interest in day parties in general since All Day I Dream began taking off?
Absolutely. I've never claimed to have invented daytime parties but they always seemed to take a backseat to night time events and clubs and I wanted to bring them back into the forefront. There’s something really magical about the energy of a daytime gathering. You can see people’s expressions and feel their energy in a totally different way. It always felt more glamorous to me too for some reason. People dress up differently. and it all just feels more beautiful. Add in some nature as the complimentary element rather than smoke and lasers and you just feel and experience things differently. I think as ADID raised the production level at parties and as we explored and reinterpreted spaces with that production to bring beauty to more brutal surroundings the interest changed as did the type of person attending. Going to parties attracted different people who might have previously thought dance music was more druggy or seedy. I’m not knocking other events, clubs or going out at night. It’s more so a common misconception as to what certain dance music experiences might actually be.
You mentioned in a previous interview that you’ve always sort of felt like you were on the “fringes” of certain scenes, like progressive house and minimal. But with All Day I Dream, you’ve virtually sparked a whole movement around the deeper, melodic shades of house music you curate and play out. What does it feel like for you to finally have your own “scene,” and where do you see this sound going in the future?
I always thought I liked straddling different worlds within music and being on the fringes but in some ways it worked against me as you’re never in the spotlight fully. People love to pop you in a box and describe what you do but if they don’t really understand it fully they're drawn more towards someone who only plays a certain sound. I had this moment with the music back in 2007 where it all just made sense and was actually super exciting when i realised no one was really playing this way. I truly believed that the musical experience itself would touch people in a way that would stay with them long past the actual event itself and that would also over time would encourage and inspire others to interpret it and create their own parties, DJ sets or productions. I must admit the scene has gotten much bigger than I initially thought possible and the fact it changed the whole sound of Burning Man still makes me secretly proud. I think the future of everything ADID has touched and inspired along the way will become less of a copy of what we’ve done and more so an exploration of whatever they believe is the way forward. Now more than ever, I think we need these kinds of blissful musical experiences and it’ll be interesting to see if the music will stay at the same tempo. My only hope is that the music doesn’t become more and more dramatic. It’s easy to get carried away sometimes but subtlety and restraint in the beauty of a tune is, in my opinion, key to longevity.
All Day I Dream even helped influence the Beatport genre called “organic house,” and several other labels have cropped up around this sound or have created more space for it in their repertoire (ie, Seven Villas, Sudbeat, Microcastle). Did you ever foresee this kind of music having such an impact? What’s your take in general on “organic house?”
Absolutely. Back in 2010 I was discussing what to call this style of music and whether we could persuade Beatport to create a new genre. I always envisioned it becoming a sound and at the time the name we landed on was ‘Melodica’. Before Organic house happened ADID was the top selling label in their Deep house genre for a few years in a row and I kind of felt we defined that particular sub genre but for some reason my label was then moved to another sub genre called melodic house and techno. We were doing ok there but the vibe mostly was a little tougher so when Beatport decided to create another new genre called organic house (for this sound in particular) it felt like a compliment to what we began a decade ago. As we now don’t have to compete with the more powerful melodic techno tracks anymore I feel the genre and sound will continue to grow with this kind of focus on it. I’m still not sure about the name itself as most of the music doesn’t have ‘organic’ elements in (which was supposed to be the case) it more so describes music with a certain feeling rather than actually describing the choice of sounds. It’s a snappier name than 'pesticide free house’ though I guess.
Who are the biggest innovators of this sound today?
Lost Desert, Gorje Hewek, Amonita, Roy Rosenfeld, Sebastien Leger, Double Touch, Powel, Facundo Mohrr, Volen Sentir, Zone + and…Matthew Dekay if he’d ever release anything!
10 years is a big milestone to hit, and All Day I Dream has only continued to grow. What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned in this journey thus far, and what do you think is the secret to your success? Why are people continually drawn toward this sound and party concept?
It’s crazy how quickly a decade can fly by. I’m super proud of where All Day I Dream has reached in the musical world. I guess the secret to its success is never to rest on your laurels. I continue to invest in it and am always trying to better the experience. I’ve listened to my artists' thoughts as well as the fans while maintaining a very personal connection on all levels. Someone didn’t receive their copy of one of the record releases recently and wrote saying how sad they were as it was now sold out. They collect every vinyl release so I sent them one of my copies. I know it’s just a small detail and just one person but everyone who supports ADID is important and if I can help I always will. I’ve also encouraged new artists to be themselves rather than copies of other more successful artists. This freedom to explore and reinterpret is really important as each unique artist adds another layer to the picture. I truly believe people come back time and time again (and then tend to bring their friends) as we tap into a much needed place inside us all. Allowing yourself to feel and express your emotions in public, with friends or with strangers is a powerful thing. That collective release of feelings can’t even be put into words sometimes. There’s a welcoming and open energy to all our Dreamers. You just feel good when you’re around these people. Lots have met their significant others at my events. I’m really proud of that actually. These are some of the reasons people love it so much. They are a part of the experience as much as we are.
With the pandemic forcing much of the industry online, how have you translated the All Day I Dream ethos to the digital space? Do you see the trajectory of the brand changing as a result, and how so if so?
We've all been trying to adapt and, right now, the digital space is a wonderful medium to share in. I’m so pleased we can share music with our lovely and loyal fans across the world every Sunday through our stream. Many of the artists are also online chatting to their fans every Sunday too and some of the artists are really putting a lot into their streams so the quality is always high. It’s actually surprising how much work it takes to make these streams happen each and every week and keeping the energy and focus going has been challenging at times but it’s fun and has been a nice complimentary outlet for the brand. Right now we are working on the next evolution of the format of the show. I’ve been a tad lazy and was supposed to present each week but I’m figuring out how to best do that right now. I don’t see our trajectory changing enormously in the short term outside of adding live digital access to our events once they start up again.
What does the next decade of All Day I Dream look like for you? What changes/evolution do you see in the pipeline, and how do you intend to continue building upon your current foundation?
I think the feelings that All Day I Dream explores are universal and much needed so there are certain things I’m going to continue to support such as community. Once we are all able to safely gather again in large numbers I believe musical experiences will help people heal from the collective trauma of the world right now. I know that sounds a little intense but music is both soothing as well as healing. Surrounded with the music and the energy of our community of dreamers we will all be able to let go again and find some peaceful moments in our lives. I think there’s going to be a need for people’s mental health and wellbeing to be supported and I’ve met many music lovers who’ve expressed how much that music has helped them through tough times. We’re looking into how to best utilise what we do to help support those who need it and I want to better understand how music ties into this kind of wellness. We are also working towards ‘All Weekend I Dream’ which will expand our experience to a small festival weekend. There were already too many similar festival experiences on offer in the marketplace but my idea for a weekend has a certain magical flavour to it that I believe you won’t want to miss out on. We hope to be able to make this happen in 2022 but, right now that’s a moving target.
Any final comments for the Flaunt community?
This has been and still is a tough time for many of the people we know. Be proactive in expressing to all your friends and family that you’re there for them. That it’s ok to feel whatever they need to feel but it’s important to share if they are going through it. Tell them that you love them no matter what and will always listen and support them if they need anyone. We all need someone sometimes.