The New Year’s EDM Hustle: How Subtronics Is Welcoming 2022 In Colorado & California
Photo via Luis Colato – Take Flight:
Subtronics shows off some sick moves during his set at Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Oct. 24.
New Year’s Eve dance festivals often find themselves sharing similar lineups as they aim to feature some of the biggest names in EDM for the ultimate celebration. With countless events taking place over a short period of time, DJs and producers need to get creative with their transportation as they move across the country in just a few days – or sometimes the same night.
Among those who have risen up the ranks throughout the duration of the pandemic is Subtronics, the moniker of Jesse Kardon. Known for his abrasive sound and heavy dubstep, the producer has built a growing fanbase. And after having been shut indoors for nearly two years, fans are desperate to spend hours banging their heads to his aggressive sets.
Wanting to keep up with his growing stature in dance music, Kardon and his team set out to pull off three New Year’s Eve festivals in just two days. While they had initially planned for a short run in Canada on Dec. 28, the country’s continuing COVID restrictions prevented them from being able to make a trip up north. Instead, they are focusing on the NYE extravaganza with an appearance at Lights All Night at Dallas Market Hall on Dec. 30, and two shows on Dec. 31 – Decadence Colorado at Denver’s Colorado Convention Center and Insomniac’s Countdown at National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, Calif.
“This is actually our first time having two different shows in different cities in one night,” Elyse Young, who manages Subtronics alongside Eric Silver at Red Light Management, told Pollstar. “Subtronics had a big year in 2020 before COVID hit, and when the world shut down we put our heads together to find ways to continue reaching new audiences. The last 18 months have been a ride and New Year’s Eve 2022 is a big milestone for all of us.”
Dec. 31 will see Subtronics and his team traveling 1,018 miles from venue to venue in just a few hours. Both sets will span between 60-75 minutes, giving Kardon a decent amount of time on stage in Denver before he has to catch a flight to Southern California and rush to the next venue.
“As soon as his Decadence set ends in Colorado, Jesse will go straight to the airport with his road crew and then once they land in California, he’ll go directly to the show and hop on stage,” Young said.
(Photo by Andrew Freeman. – Subtronics
takes over the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo., for “Cyclops Rocks” June 22.
Subtronics is far from the only electronic artist who has managed to squeeze in multiple sets in a single day, and previous years have seen multi-show runs as a common occurrence in the industry. With laptops and USBs serving as instruments rather than guitars and drum kits, transportation is a bit easier. Major electronic acts like Diplo and Dillon Francis have managed to play three different cities in one night with the help of a private jet and a police escort from the airport to the stage. And while Subtronics’ team won’t be enlisting a police escort of their own, they knew renting a private jet would be the only way they could make it to both shows.
“I plan New Year’s Eve shows strategically by looking at my clients’ performing schedules for the entire year,” Jake Bernstein of United Talent Agency, who represents Subtronics, told Pollstar. “Creating a market list is helpful. Checking where they played in the fall and where they will be playing in the spring is very important, as it isn’t convenient for artists to perform one-off New Year’s Eve events in cities where they performed a few months prior. Hard-ticket touring schedules are typically busiest in the months surrounding NYE, so those events require more advanced planning than summer festivals to eliminate any potential conflicts. Additionally, at the beginning of each year, I ask my artists what their goals are and book their shows accordingly.”
Run by Insomniac (owned in part by Live Nation), which produces Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas every year, Countdown has been one of Southern California’s New Year’s Eve staples for electronic music. Subtronics was booked for the festival first, but when he received an offer to play at Decadence Colorado, which is put on by AEG Presents, the Subtronics team couldn’t say no.
“We were booked for Countdown SoCal first, and wanted to see if we could hit another market the same night,” Bernstein said. “Denver made the most sense geographically given Subtronics’ success at Red Rocks back in June, where he blew out ticket sales for his first full-capacity headline show in 72 hours. Subtronics, Eric Silver, Elyse Young, and I all felt that playing Decadence in Denver was a nice victory lap for both him and his fans, some of whom may not have been able to get tickets fast enough for the Red Rocks show.”
“We love the Decadence promoters, you know, we’re very close with them and it was the right fit,” Young said. “And it made sense and now, we have a private jet.”
The idea to use a private plane for the first time ever came into fruition after the team decided they would be taking on Decadence as well.
While Kardon regularly uses buses for his longer tours as Subtronics, driving all that way wouldn’t have gotten him there in time, and with security lines and flight delays, going commercial through the Denver airport to SoCal would have either cut things a little too close, or make him miss his set at Countdown entirely. That left taking a private plane as the only feasible option to get from Decadence to Countdown with time to spare.
“We all put our heads together, and between the road crew, Jesse’s business manager who obviously works with all different clients, everyone sort of knew a guy and through that, we were able to get different quotes and compare and figure out what makes sense time-wise and financially,” Young said.
While radius clauses are a frequent factor in festivals, Decadence Colorado and Countdown were farther enough away not to be a conflict, allowing for Subtronics’ team to easily agree to both performances.
“Luckily none of them radiused each other, but navigating his 2022 tour was tricky as we had to hold back on announcing several dates until the New Year’s Eve festivals ended,” Bernstein said.
Subtronics’ headline show on Aug. 19 at Big Night Live in Boston grossed $49,543, according to reports submitted to Pollstar’s Boxoffice. Ahead of the pandemic, he performed at House Of Blues in Boston on Feb. 13, 2020, grossing $40,733.
As New Year’s Eve grows closer, Kardon has been hard at work preparing for his performances.
“I put countless hours into my sets and practice up until the day of the show,” Kardon said. “My New Year’s sets will be similar with a few changes here and there. I want to present my absolute best to both crowds.”