By Adam Stewart
After much anticipation, this Friday (April 22) marks the premiere of the long-awaited blog-house-inspired electronica documentary "The Electro Wars," which is streaming on Pitchfork. Directed by filmmaker Stephen Alex Vasquez, "The Electro Wars" is a commentary on the current state of dance music, and most notably the rise of electro-house and the other burgeoning subgenres in the States. Considering it's his first breakthrough film, the cast of characters Vasquez booked and level of access he was granted is impressive. Having started off as nothing more than a passionate fan with a very limited budget, it was no easy task for the indie filmmaker, who just two years ago could barely get into the clubs.
"Honestly, I didn't know what the hell I was doing," Vasquez admitted to MTV News. "I would tell [artists] I already had a bunch of people down: 'Oh, I already interviewed this guy, and this guy is coming up!' It was all bullsh--, [but] I needed to grab them somehow, and it worked!"
Those little white lies got his foot in the door and opened a passageway to a world he could have never imagined. The film has also been featured in various film festivals around the globe, including the Atlantic, the Stockholm and the Music Doc. All of this was made possible after he scored his first big interview with West Coast icon Steve Aoki, and with that, the rest of the dominoes began to fall.
"At first, he was a little apprehensive to do it, but he did it. And once Steve did it, I had that footage to show other people, like, 'Look, Steve Aoki's in it,' so it kind of snowballed," Vasquez explained. After Steve, came Chromeo, A-Track and his Duck Sauce counterpart, Armand Van Helden. "It kind of became this popularity thing. It was like high school all over again".
Vasquez also managed to grab time with Justice, Moby, Diplo and Switch (of Major Lazer), Laidback Luke, LMFAO, Pitbull and the "Yeah!" man of music, Lil Jon.
"I actually met [Pitbull] after the MTV Video Music Awards, in a hotel. Pit was really adamant about doing it; he was just really down," Vasquez recalled.
"I didn't know what to expect from Lil Jon at first, but I was pleasantly surprised," he continued. "He's very into the indie stuff … The guy is like a textbook of knowledge when it comes to music, in general; the guy just knows so much about different types of genres.
He's the King of Crunk, and people just mainly associate him with that, but he's a hype man. It blends so well with the music!"
Vasquez and his production partners, Carmine Rizzo and Jason Ano, are a trio who never say no. A year after the documentary first started buzzing at the 2010 Winter Music Conference, the crew, now operating under the name One & Only Productions, scored a gig as Skrillex's touring camera crew, covering shows all over the States, all while the trio are in full swing on production for the documentary's sequel, "The Electro Wars: Revenge of the Synth."
Featuring the likes of Skrillex, Tommy Lee, Deadmau5, Afrojack, Benny Benassi and Chuckie, "Revenge of the Synth" focuses on the aftermath of the first film — what it was vs. what it has become — honing in on what happened in the industry regarding the acceptance of dance music, speaking with labels and various media outlets, furthering the notion that dance music is indeed here to stay.
Be sure to catch the trailer for "Electro Wars: Revenge of The Synth" at the end of the original "Electro Wars" film, and let us know what you think about both in the comments below!