By Adam Lovinus
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A man with more aliases than a German spy, Eric Prydz is not only a chart-topping, Grammy-nominated, festival-headlining, multiple-record-label-owning producer/DJ, but he is also one of the few artists who has managed to bridge the gap between mainstream dance music and underground notoriety. "I always play as Eric Prydz and have only played as Cirez D once in the past before [this year's Winter Music Conference]," he says. After being offered a chance to play as Cirez D back-to-back with techno legend Adam Beyer, Prydz was approached by Ultra Music Festival to perform in March in Miami under that alias on a different stage in addition to his mainstage time slot. "I loved it because I can play all these records I normally don't play because they are too dark or too techno. It was so much fun," he says.
Stepping away from the typical Beatport Top 40 and sticking to his melodic take on progressive house music, in May 2012, he released his critically acclaimed, long-awaited, major-label debut, Eric Prydz Presents Pryda, which appeared at No. 5 on OC Weekly's "Top 10 EDM Albums to Listen to Before You Die."
Including such successful tracks as "EveryDay," "Pjanoo" and "Allein," Prydz's sets are the definition of a buildup, one that takes hours for any sort of drop, which makes them atypical of what you hear at most clubs and festivals. It's a musical journey through synths, melodies and riffs, then the vocal hits, and it touches your soul as well as your dancing shoes. "I never really plan my sets or have a setlist," says Prydz. "It depends on what mood I'm in and how I feel the crowd is."
Despite several hits and world-renowned performances, a well-known fear of flying kept Prydz in his London studio. But he braved a transatlantic flight to join the Identity Festivals bus tour across the U.S. as the headliner. After the Ultra Music Festival (considered the EDM equivalent of the Super Bowl) gig, Prydz closed out the infamous Sahara Tent at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on April 14 and will do so again Sunday.
Instead of returning to his European hideaway, he recently moved to LA and started a residency at the dance-music mecca Wynn Resort in Las Vegas. "I had been living in London, where the winters are very dark, like those in Sweden, where I'm from. It's the total opposite on the West Coast, and I love it," Prydz says. "Plus, electronic music is so big in America it felt like a natural thing for me to move here."
Though he has been busy making lots of new music and hasn't gotten to do much exploring in LA, he does say he loves the city's restaurants, mentioning Pastaio in Beverly Hills as one of his favorites. And Prydz is no stranger to Orange County: "When I played at the Yost Theater last year, it was actually a really nice evening, and I really enjoyed how amazing the crowd was," he recalls, noting that larger cities are spoiled with big artists every week, so it's not as special for them.
Though his Coachella gigs are keeping him occupied, Prydz is planning a slew of big shows, one of which is sure to bring him back to OC. He's certain that 2013 will be a huge year for both his Pryda and Mouseville labels; he will be releasing music on a more regular basis and working on some surprise collaborations. "Keep your eyes and ears open, and you will see," he says. "It's very unexpected, but it's going to be cool."