I want to preface this by saying that I have massive respect for any individual that tries to herd a group of millennials and convince them to turn off their phones for more than five minutes. On Friday night, I was given the opportunity to watch Daniel Goldstein, better known as Lane 8, perform at Mezzanine in San Francisco. Lane 8 has been a longtime favorite of mine and I had missed the opportunity to see him live the weekend before at the Woogie Stage during Lightning in a Bottle, so I was beyond stoked to finally see one of his sets.
What was so interesting about this night in particular, however, was that the show came with an entirely new concept that I had never seen approached before. Daniel recently announced the launch of his own music label aptly named This Never Happened. With the label came a concept that is best explained by Daniel himself in a note posted to his Soundcloud as the description to the first track released from the label, Fingerprint:
We live at a time when distractions from reality are never further away than our fingertips. Our phones offer us unlimited stimulation and temporary comfort. The possibilities of technology are endless, but they also limit the possibility…the possibility to truly experience and submit to the moment.
For me, going to a club has always been about letting go of the world around me, like a vacation from the nagging realities of everyday life. In the best clubs I have been to, the people were united by a desire to experience electronic music in the purest sense; to get lost in its tension and release. No matter what was going on in their lives, it was a place where, for at least a few hours, nothing else mattered but the sheer power music had to bring people joy. And those experiences – held only by those in that room, at that moment – were almost like the reward to submitting to a secret society. At the end of the night, I could look at my friends, old and new, and without saying a single word, we’d know that what we experienced together was something special, something that would never quite be repeated again.
Some of my early clubbing experiences have stayed with me for my entire life. They are why I’m doing what I’m doing today. There is not a photo, forum thread or social media post in existence to mark their happening, but the memories, the emotions I felt, the way those nights changed my life – those things stay with me to this day.
Somewhere along the way, we as a society have lost the ability to experience those special moments. On the rare occasion that they do happen, we scramble to grab our phones in time to capture them – but those moments cannot be truly captured – and they don’t need to be broadcasted or recorded. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is fully appreciate what is happening in that room, at that moment, with those people around us.
I think our society needs clubbing experiences where they go home with more than just a picture to post on instagram. That’s why I’m starting This Never Happened – I want to create that experience for people.
At This Never Happened, we invite you into a space where the only thing that matters are the people in that room, the music and the magic that happens when those things interact. An event where the dancefloor will be a phone and photo-free space.
This experience we share together may, by 2016 standards, have never happened. But those who dare will always know – something special did happen here.
The first show will be a return to my hometown of San Francisco on 3 June at Mezzanine. It’s a venue I’ve dreamed of headlining for many years and the perfect place to start this new chapter. If we can make this happen – and work – together, there will be many, many more.
This Never Happened will not just be the name of these events, but also the name of a new record label. This label will be the outlet for music, by me, that is inspired by and made for this experience. The first song I’m releasing is called “Fingerprint” and you can listen to it below.
Putting this project together with my team over the last 6 months triggered a creative spark in me unlike anything I’ve ever felt before, and I’m so excited for you guys to hear the music I’ve come up with during that time.
I look forward to building this concept with you 🙂
Friday’s show, I have to say, successfully embodied this idea in a way I did not think was possible, especially with such a young crowd in the middle of a hustling and bustling city. Upon entry, cameras were refused entry and phone cameras were covered with a slim piece of tape. When on the dance floor, I did not see a single person take their phone out – everyone was truly and honestly paying attention to the music. It was so refreshing to be able to watch Daniel without being distracted by the bright light of my neighbor’s phone. And just as a cherry on top of a blissful evening, the set was absolutely breathtaking – it blew all of my expectations out of the water.
Daniel’s Facebook post hours before the show at Mezzanine (above), and Tweet after (below).
hi San Fran. Thank you for last night. That was an incredible experience. ✌🏻️ pic.twitter.com/w5VFKPFEuG
— Lane 8 (@Lane8music) June 4, 2016
Perhaps this is a concept we should consider pursuing more often within the live music industry, as it really pushes you as an audience member to dedicate your full attention. I have the utmost respect for Daniel for pursuing this and successfully pulling it off, and I wish him nothing but the best in doing so at other venues as well.
All in all, I could never really prove to you that it was great, nor could I show you a picture of how delightfully packed it was with a great crowd all swaying to the house vibes Daniel brought together. I couldn’t post a picture of the venue or how into the set Daniel was – but that’s the point, after all. Because this never happened.
Or did it?