Buku’s Minneapolis performance on Thursday was another opportunity to dive back into the culture that has been growing on me. And what better place to do it than in the intimate confines of The Exchange? If you aren’t familiar with it, The Exchange is designed for DJs only. Technically, there is no elevated stage, but rather an enclosure for the producer. Little more than a wall and glass barrier separates the audience from the performers. It’s about as intimate as it gets.
Owning The Space
Some DJs really don’t do well in this environment. I’ve actually pissed off a few by getting a little too close with my camera during a show. Others, like Buku, thrive being this close to their fans. There were plenty of fun interactions with the crowd, and at one point a fan handed Buku his….tail. Weird flex, but ok. Buku ended up running with it and swinging it around like it was his job. Much love for being a good guy, Buku.
The magic of an environment like this is that it’s close, it feels like a house party. Sure, the spectacle of the big venue isn’t there, but what you sacrifice for the size you get back in a grittiness that feels like a house party. Rather than going to a show, it is more or less a party hosted by the artist, and with the camaraderie that comes with the EDM crowd, you’re going to make new friends all around. It happens at every show at The Exchange, whether I am trying or not.
Exploring New Spaces
I’ve never considered myself a big EDM guy. I’m a big fan of hip-hop, RnB production, and other types of music that are decidedly low key. My top five played songs of 2018 belong to Doja Cat, Alina Baraz, Idealism, Atu, and Sabrina Claudio. While not as far as possible from EDM (that would be country, ew) it’s pretty damn close.
So what am I doing at the Exchange on a Thursday night? Since my first year photographing the festival circuit began, I’ve been exposed to a lot of EDM and its culture, and it has grown on me. The spectacle of the lights, the energy of everyone lost in the music, the chaos of navigating the crowd with my camera equipment. It’s all so much fun that I keep on coming back for more.
My Love Affair With EDM Begins
This story begins near the end of Electric Forest. Exhausted and running on fumes, I’m making some of my final rounds around the forest to see an act at the Jubilee stage. Buku was closing out, and the set was the kind of ridiculous that makes you laugh because you don’t think it’s real. Bright lights, harsh, oscillating bass, and a crowd that was still going crazy, even though we were at the end of a four-day festival of chaotic moments and intensity.
From The Front To Back
Buku played a hard-hitting set, the crowd feeling it with every new tune. He played many new songs, his energy radiating throughout the dance floor. The only stationary people were the inevitable few who stumbled in, not realizing what they were getting themselves into.
Buku closed out with his hit “Front to Back,” well past his allotted 1:00 am finish time. Most didn’t notice, continuing to headbang to the very end. It only made my love of EDM and the EDM culture grow a little bit more. These people know how to have a good time, and Buku turned The Exchange into a yet another party.
I’m glad that EDM has grown on me in 2018. I’m starting to understand the culture, and I’ve made plenty of new friends while venturing deep into the scene. I’ve seen shows that would surprise most people around me. EDM fans some of the friendliest of people I’ve met, and some of the hardest partying as well. It is showcased most prominently when in an intimate environment like The Exchange.