Can underground EDM draw a crowd in the gaudy, Top 40–oriented Las Vegas club scene? DJ/producer Eric Prydz is betting on it. Though he's the man behind the once-inescapable dance hit "Call on Me" (which yielded that still-unforgettable video featuring horny aerobicizers), Prydz takes a less-poppy, more-provocative approach for his highly improvised sets. It works. He's basking in the glow of a Grammy nomination, the spotlight of April's Coachella lineup, and the sunshine of Los Angeles, where the Swedish-born DJ recently moved. This month, he launches the dark, atmospheric party Black Dice, his first American residency, at Vegas's Wynn — and he's still finding time to hit Boston's PRIME Nightclub at Umbria Prime on Saturday, February 16. (Advance passes are sold out, so show up well before his 10 pm set to score day-of tickets.) We called on him to find out, among other things, just how this famously plane-phobic DJ will get here.
You visited Boston last year. Thoughts? It's a great city. It wasn't what I expected. It felt like a mix between the cool parts of New York and Europe — Amsterdam, maybe — with all the low older buildings. It's a cultured place with sophisticated people.
You know our clubs close at two, right? I love that. Sounds great to me! [Laughs] In Ibiza, it's like, "What's my set time? I go on at five and spin until nine in the morning? Okay." I lived in London for eight years. Things were similar. Pubs close at 11 or 12, so people go out early, get pissed, are in bed at half past nine, and the next day they do it again.
What's the concept of Black Dice? It's about turning Vegas on its head. Las Vegas is known for glamour. You think: gold, bright colors, over-the-top. We want to bring that European warehouse feel, with a Vegas twist. There hasn't really been a place for that. The last four years, everything has been very commercial, music-wise. . . . [This] is all about the music — not going out to drink champagne and flirt.
What artists are inspiring you now? Young bedroom producers sitting at home, making forward-thinking music. . . . I try to put them in the limelight as much as I can, incorporating unreleased demos through my radio show or performances.
Where is your sound going? If I feel something is really trendy, I go in the opposite direction. Why write a book someone else has already written? I want my own story. It's all about sounding fresh. I make the music that is missing in my record box. Sometimes I make new music, one or two new tracks, just hours before a show — because it's what I want to play tonight.
From Europe to LA, Vegas, Boston — how does someone afraid to fly travel so much? Obviously I flew here from Europe, but it's not a pleasant process. Now I do it old-school, with a nice big tour bus. We're on the road for hours. But it's more time for music; I have a small studio setup and a big-screen with video games.