Out today (July 19) the ten track LP 'Melt' is a collaboration with Belgian producer Lost Desert.
If Lee Burridge sits down to dinner and hears his new album through the restaurant speakers, he'll know he has succeeded.
25 years into his career as highly-respected DJ and creator of the long-running, globe-spanning All Day I Dream parties, Burridge is today (July 19) releasing his debut album, Melt, a collaboration with Belgian producer Lost Desert. As the duo were working on the project, Burridge passed it along to a friend, asking for feedback.
"He told me it's the kind of thing you'd hear in a restaurant in Ibiza," Burridge recalls. "I was like, 'Perfect.'"
While you could certainly turn up the album and have a reasonably energetic dance party, Burridge says Melt is ultimately "really nice background music." The ten tracks create an atmosphere more than they demand your attention, a sophisticated notion in a genre where the music often bangs you over the head and takes your ears hostage.
Rather, Melt is delicate, sexy, nuanced -- music you can play while working, exercising, eating at an island beachside cafe or just at your kitchen table. In fact, it's music that compliments the nigthttime mood in Los Angeles when Burridge and Billboard Dance hike up the hill at Runyon Canyon together, while a full moon rises over the skyline. Other artists might be more precious about where their work exists. Burridge just wants to create a vibe.
In fact, he's been doing so for the duration of his career, since coming up in the '90s London rave scene, and then moving to Thailand, where he became a pillar of the full moon party community. The scene -- loose and geographically epic -- would greatly influence Burridge's career and flavor of deep house and techno that's earned him a dedicated worldwide following.
"It's the first place where I saw the magical effects of music on people's spirit and soul," Burridge says of those nights in Thailand. "The crowd was on this journey you were creating, or each record was creating, and it brought out all kinds of emotions -- people were happy; they were weeping. People were swimming and making love. It was a crazy and hedonistic, yet really sweet experience."
Burridge would extend this ambience worldwide with All Day I Dream, his ongoing party series that does events in well-established dance scene destinations like London, Ibiza, Mykonos and New York. ADID also travels further outside the confines of the well-worn dance circuit to more up and coming locations in Brazil, Turkey, Russia and more. As we reach the top of the hill, with the city bustling below, Burridge excitedly recounts an offer to take his party to Kenya, and says even a place like this canyon -- with its views and natural splendor -- would mesh well with what he does.
"It’s trying to attract people to locations where it's not just about going to a rave or a dance music party or soirée," he explains. "It's actually about going to a place and that place being one element of the experience."
Despite the endless industry speculation about when the dance scene will implode, Burridge says North America has never been more receptive to he does. This is particulary true as "underground" house and techno music become more popular with maturing American audiences, and peers like Guy Gerber, Pete Tong and other such artists make headway in major markets like Las Vegas. Amidst this evolution, All Day I Dream has experienced both Denver and Oakland as particularly promising new markets.
"For me," Burridge says, "there's a resonance between where the Burning Man communities have evolved...That's our foundation audience, that come and dress up and understand the music immediately."
Burning Man, happening next month in the northern Nevada desert, has been an annual destination for Burridge since 2005. Google "Lee Burridge Burning Man" and you'll find a decade's worth of videos of him playing sunrise sets to party people in complicated hats and dusty faux fur. He says that while Burning Man is currently trendy among the dance scene jet set, this trend will fade as all trends do, while the festival will carry on.
"Either you experience it once or twice and then you don't go again -- because you're off to the Greek islands or somewhere else in your private jet -- or maybe Burning Man captures your imagination and allows you to actually participate and want to give to the festival in the way everybody else does."
To the extent that one can surmise another person's character during an hour-long twilight hike, Burridge seems like a genuinely nice person. He's thoughtful, funny, makes a lot of direct eye contact and is on the "everything is energy" spiritual tip that embraces yoga, dancing, good vibes and kindness as a prevailing philosophy. Never a producer at heart, it's only in the last ten years that original productions have come to the forefront of his creative work. Burridge found a good creative rhythm working with Lost Desert (the duo also released an EP together in 2017), whose output is a bit more prolific.
"I think he's blinded by the amount of stuff he does, and sometimes he doesn't know what's good and what's not good," Burridge says of his collaborator. "So I'm the executive producer sitting in the back, shouting, 'More reverb! Do you want a cup of tea?!'"
As we get back to the bottom of the hill, Burridge acknowledges that his new album is unlikely to drastically move the dial in terms of his profile and career. Instead it will serve as a compliment to what he's already done, and a soundtrack to where he's going, as he continues creating vibey settings in which people can come to connect and express themselves. That, for him, is the point.
Indeed part of the magic of these parties is that they're ephemeral. While Melt might not blaze up the charts, it is built to last, a tangible artifact of a storied career 25 years in the making, whether you're hearing on the dancefloor of through the speakers of the most with it restaurant in your town.
"I just feel it was a success," Burridge says, "to create something I'm proud of."