When I listen to EDM, I’m brought back to freshman year when I was introduced to drugs, dub-step and sardine-packed shows. That’s when I first heard the badass-ery of Pretty Lights, an electronica sensation created by Derek Vincent Smith.
Smith started Pretty Lights in 2004. He takes samples — mostly bits of songs from ’70s soul or ’90s hip hop — and laces them up with his own sound effects. Add in some rad light displays and MDMA and, voilà, you’ve got the Pretty Lights experience.
Smith’s music gained momentum during the Bassnectar-Skrillex hype, and millennials have been eating up his productions ever since. His album Color Map of the Sun was nominated for a Grammy in 2013, and he’s no stranger to headlining shows like Electronic Daisy Festival or selling out at Colorado’s Red Rocks.
Pretty Lights isn’t just about rolling balls, however. Smith hosts collaborative projects with fans, like his recent Episodic Festival, where he asked listeners to send in submissions of music or show clips to be added to upcoming videos. To top off his coolness, Smith has his albums up for free on the Pretty Lights website (prettylightsmusic.com).
Come get sweaty and dazed with Pretty Lights, with Emancipator and Mikey Thunder opening, at 7 pm Sunday, Sept. 4, at Cuthbert Amphitheater; $40 adv., $45 door.