Alison Wonderland Teams Up With Microsoft's Music x Technology Program

Last night, Microsoft and LA-based electronic DJ and producer Alison Wonderland packed the house at The Microsoft Lounge in Venice to unveil a new custom performance kit for her upcoming tour, kicking off this weekend on August 5.

Inspired by spiritual iconography and elements of high fantasy, Alison has collaborated with Microsoft to produce jaw-dropping, dynamic visuals that she and her VJ are able to control in real time, from stage. It’s all powered by a performance kit running on a Microsoft Surface Book; a new plug-and-play solution that can adapt to any stage and any vibe.

The invite-only event included an intimate DJ set by Alison Wonderland and an exclusive look at the Microsoft-enabled live show, which fans will be able to experience this summer around the US, before it travels to Europe, Australia, and beyond.

Alison Wonderland's first full length album, Run, landed at #1 on the US Billboard electronic music charts and went gold in Australia. Now she's collaborated with Microsoft to produce a visual experience that will take her upcoming international tour to the next level.

"All I've ever wanted was for people to leave my shows feeling like they have truly experienced something. I feel like the project with Microsoft, which I’ve been working very hard on, has really helped bring my vision to life. I want people to forget about their phones and enjoy the 'now’.” — Alison Wonderland

This collaboration is the latest in artist series Music x Technology, an initiative that celebrates forward-thinking artists who are using Microsoft technology to transform the way we create and experience music. With regular artist collaborations, the program seeks to empower artists with unique opportunities to create one-of-a-kind experiences for their fans. Find out more at: www.microsoft.com/inculture/musicxtech.

[ARTIST SPOTLIGHT] COUCHERON

This week's artist spotlight features an immensely talented and hilarious DJ/producer from Norway. He's a Gypsy Jazz lover named Sebastian Kornelius but you might know him better as Coucheron. Well, West Coast EDM had the opportunity to get the personal scoop.

West Coast EDM: What’s the story behind the name?

Coucheron: The name comes from my great-great-grandmother, and for some reason it dissappeared with her. But I liked it and thought it sounded cool so I started uploading songs with it. Not my best decision seeing as it’s really hard for people to spell it out when I tell them my name is “Koosheron.” But you win some and you lose some.

West Coast EDM: How did you get your start in music? Do you play any instruments?

Coucheron: I started playing in punk bands when I was 10, I played the guitar and drums. My band was just about to start growling (FUCK YEA BRAAAWWWH) when we decided to quit. After that I got into making music on my computer, and made some incredibly sucky music for 2 years before putting anything out... I often think about who I would be if we started growling.

West Coast EDM: What’s your process when creating a track? Do you generally have something in mind or is it a completely blank slate?

Coucheron: It depends. It often starts out in one of three ways:

  1. I’ll have voice memos on my phone, and start from there.
  2. I’ll play the piano or guitar until I hear something interesting to start off.
  3. I’ll browse through my “sample” library for inspiration. It’s a pretty extensive library made out of bits and pieces. It’s very neatly organized and I use them without getting sued yay. It’s a fun way to work because I can take ideas that are meant for one thing and do something unexpected with them. 

BUT I'd say most of the time I’ll come up with something by accident while tinkering around in the studio.

West Coast EDM: How has your style evolved from your perspective?
Coucheron: I think I’ve grown out of having a particular “style”. Whenever I think “omg I’ve finally found my sound,” I grow really tired of it shortly after. I used to think I made French House, but nowadays I’ll just make anything that strikes a nerve with me. I usually tell people “I make pop music” mehe.

West Coast EDM: Who would you love to collaborate with?

Coucheron: Arctic Monkeys (!!!!). Or Vampire Weekend. Ty Dolla Sign would be supertight too.  

West Coast EDM: Which producers have inspired your style?

Coucheron: I started out by copying a bunch of french house acts like Justice, Daft Punk and SebastiAn. And Lemaitre, whom I share a house with in LA now yay. I still am very inspired by all of them but the list of inspirations has grown immensely over the past few years. Timbaland, Noisia, Cashmere Cat, Madlib, Billboard, Diplo to name a few. Ariel Rechtshaid has produced some incredible records over the years as well.

West Coast EDM: Favorite sub-genres of electronic music?

Coucheron: I’m really bad at keeping up with the names of sub-genres. I still like a Nu-Disco record and have gotten really into Drum N' Bass as of late. But I digs some future bass stuff too. I do go to SoundCloud from time to time and discover mindblowing music.

West Coast EDM: Any pre-show rituals?

Coucheron: Not really. I’ll crack a cold one with the band and then have a few minutes in solidarity.

West Coast EDM: If you could throw your own festival, which producers would be on the roster?

Coucheron: I’d like to hear DJ sets from Mark Ronson, Cashmere Cat, Questlove, Max Martin and Noisia. But I wouldn’t really want to hear them play their own songs, just their favorite songs.

West Coast EDM: What are your other hobbies?

Coucheron: I like to joke around with music as hobby. I recently started to play violin. I play gypsy jazz guitar with my roommate, Ketil. We’re gonna do a show at an open mic in LA later this year. I love playing football (soccer, that is).

West Coast EDM: What is one of the biggest challenges you've encountered throughout your career?

Coucheron: I’ve had a few down times in terms of motivation and inspiration. Where I’ve gone for weeks and weeks without enjoying anything that I make. You start to forget that adrenaline rush you get when creating something amazing. I found that scary, but that awesome feeling always come back at some point.

West Coast EDM: Any special new plans for future events?

Coucheron: I’m reeaaaally hoping to do a few shows in the states this year and a thousand festivals next year. 

West Coast EDM: What advice would you give to anyone trying to get into music production?

Coucheron: Try to recreate and copy other’s work. When copying sounds, pay attention to how every paramater changes the sound. I’ve stumple upon awesome ideas and sounds by mistake trying to copy others.

West Coast EDM: What current projects are you working on?

Coucheron: I’m working with a few artists besides myself at the moment. I’m spending a lot of the summer working with a Norwegian singer called ARY, who is amazing.

West Coast EDM: What can we expect to see from Coucheron in the next 5 years? Which cities do you hope to visit?

Coucheron: You can expect THE BIGGEST TUNES OF ALL TIME. And I want to get to Tokyo asap.

You can check out Coucheron's EXCLUSIVE West Coast EDM Spotify playlist below:

It was an absolute pleasure, Mr. Kornelius. We can't wait to hear what's next!

[ARTIST SPOTLIGHT] SOPHIE FRANCIS

West Coast EDM: What’s it like being one of the few females in a male dominated scene?

Sophie: It’s kind of hard, but getting used to it. This male dominated scene is very sexist. For the simple reason of being a girl, a lot of people try to put you down and say "she uses a ghost producer" or " she can't mix," or even worse. For this reason I have to work harder, and prove myself more than twice. I am actually against the ‘ghost-producers’ concept. I always made and still make public that I do work in my music with different people, who I always like to give credit to. I am super transparent about it, because it’s normal, every artist publicly or secretly does it, and because they deserve the credit. I actually normally improvise a lot during my sets because I like to connect with the people and make them dance, so you need to adapt on the go! The sexist stuff can be a bit frustrating, I must admit.

"A lot of people try to put you down [...] for this reason, I have to work harder [...]"

West Coast EDM: How you got your start is very impressive - do you have any advice to aspiring producers that you wish you had?

Sophie: My advice is to put 200% in what you believe. Work very hard to grow and be good. Be a perfectionist. Dedicate with heart. Get real instruments skills. I also wish I had classical music training when I was even younger - that helps a lot!

West Coast EDM: Which producers have inspired your style?

Sophie: When I was 14, I looked up to Showtek, Tiësto, W&W. I also like KHSMR, Olly James, Martin Garrix, Yellow Claw, Ummet Ozcan… many different styles.

West Coast EDM: Who would you love to collaborate with?

Sophie: In electronic dance music, I’d love to collaborate with Ummet Ozcan, Showtek, Tiësto, KHSMR, Jay Hardway… and other different styles - too many people to name.

West Coast EDM: What was it like playing at Ultra for the first time?

Sophie: Ultra was one of the best experiences of my life. The people there come with the best mood, to have the time of their lives, and you can feel it. We connected in a really cool way. The show was amazing - I met many people from around the world that continued to support me afterwards. We discovered each other at Ultra and I truly loved it!

"The people [at Ultra] come with the best mood, to have the time of their lives, and you can feel it."

West Coast EDM: If you could throw your own festival, which producers would be on the roster?

Sophie: Ummet Ozcan, Showtek, Martin Garrix, KHSMR, Olly James, & many more.

West Coast EDM: Where do you think you’d be now if not in music?

Sophie: If I wasn’t a DJ/producer, I would have chosen for something in the music business anyway, like management, bookings, promoter… I don’t know exactly what but for sure related to it!

West Coast EDM: What is one of the biggest challenges you've encountered throughout your career?

Sophie: The sexism in the industry. That’s the biggest challenge I have encountered so far. To avoid that pre-judgement is a bit hard.

West Coast EDM: What current projects are you working on?

Sophie: Right now I am in LA for several studio sessions with a really cool singer and song-writers! Beside this, I am working on a possible collaboration that I can’t disclose yet, and trying to dive into different sounds and styles, thinking outside of the box for my next releases: some nice big room bangers, very energetic for the crowd in clubs and festivals and on the other hand, working on some cool songs, more urban, pop, with special messages.

West Coast EDM: What can we expect to see from Sophie Francis in the next 5 years?

Sophie: To listen lots of new music from Sophie Francis. Develop my sound, thinking out of the box, doing my best to grow as an artist, reach more and more people around the world, to play all over, and have some super cool and massive special show designs to surprise everyone!

We can't wait to hear what comes from Sophie next!