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South Bay Electronic Music Festival Unites The Scene

In Music

Fowler has seen his son’s tastes and skills evolve quickly in just two years. Lil Justin became a devotee of glitch hop, which while not totally unlike dubstep, is a lot more structured, and not nearly as forgiving to DJs as dubstep’s loose flow.

“Watching Justin evolve from dustep to glitch hop was crazy,” says Fowler. “Now he’s got to beatmatch. He’s got to phrase, or it’ll sound funky. It opened up an entire new world of mixing for him, because it required more. He had to step up.”

And he did. Fowler has been blown away not only by his progress, but by his energy.

“It took me years to get that kind of energy on the dance floor. Once he gets on the decks, he’s into it. He’s moving his legs, he’s dancing. He’s breathing hard when he’s done,” he says.

For his part, EMF organizer Scott Rich, who’s been in the South Bay scene about as long as Fowler, had no hesitation booking an 11-year-old at his festival’s second go-around—especially after seeing Lil Justin at work at a smaller event.

“It turned out to be such a hit,” says Rich. “I can imagine it blowing up with a crowd this big.”

Rich has been hosting electonic events since his days of renegade parties in warehouses and parking lots in the early ’90s. But to him, the EMF is different even than events that feature rooms dedicated to certain subgenres. At this festival, styles flow in and out freely from one artist to the next—from ambient to downtempo to drum ‘n’ bass, and so on.

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