While names like Madonna, Drake and Jack White made headlines during the first weekend of Coachella 2015, dance music managed to hold its own in the Do LaB area. Nestled over in the corner of Empire Polo Field, inside a 145-foot, custom-built structure nicknamed the “Big Fish,” here is where top-notch DJs and dance acts like M.A.N.D.Y., Till Von Sein and Fort Knox Five helped fans get their groove on amid the natural splendor that is in Indio, CA.
While the other stages are booked by festival organizer Goldenvoice, the Do LaB, a Los Angeles-based collective of ridiculously talented artists and organizers of the Lightning in a Bottle festival, receive a commission to create their own bespoke environment from the ground up. And with that commission comes the freedom to book their own talent and basically throw their own party within one of the biggest yearly musical gatherings in North America.
Famed French house DJ/producer Sébastien Léger, who is celebrating 20 years in the mix, was one of the world-class jocks the Do Lab invited to play the first weekend. Having spun at countless festivals in his career, we knew this experience would be an interesting one for Léger so we asked him to document his experience playing Coachella in this exceptionally cool area.
You spent three whirlwind days in California. How’s your jet lag?!
Sébastien Léger: Bad! Finally fell asleep at 10:30AM this morning…
Your first date was at Sound in Los Angeles. How was the show?
It was a good show considering it coincided with Coachella’s first night. Nice vibe!
Describe the drive to Coachella. It’s beautiful terrain, right?
It’s a pretty desert! If you like sand, dry mountains and thousands of wind turbines, go and check it out. But yes, I enjoyed the vastness of the scenery.
What was the vibe like when you finally got to the festival? How does it rate to the many other festivals you’ve played over the years?
I arrived at 9:00 am, so before the festival had even started — not much vibe there at that time, unfortunately. It filled up pretty quickly though and there was a really good atmosphere. I play a lot of festivals in the UK and Holland, so it was a big difference from the usual mud and rain experiences in Europe.
Did you have any brushes with other DJs and musicians?
None, unfortunately. It was a hot day so I hung out at the stage I was playing at until my set time, just chill in’.
Did you get to catch any music before your set?
Yes, at my stage.
How did you come to play on The Do LaB stage?
They liked my style so asked me to play! I think it worked out pretty well for everyone.
Judging from the photos and video you posted on Facebook it looked like there was a nice atmosphere where you played. What was it like for you in the DJ booth? Were you able to take the crowd where you wanted them to go?
I had to play my party/festival set and the crowd loved it! But I could tell they weren’t really looking for anything too subtle.
Did any songs you played go over particularly well?
If I had to pick one out from the rest it would probably be Kink’s “Existence.” It was released on Ovum Recordings a while back now — old but gold!
How will you best remember this experience?
The stage looked really cool — like a huge swaying boat, swathed in drapes and other colorful decorations blowing in the wind. I loved it!
See you next year at Coachella?
I hope so. I had a fantastic day out.
Images courtesy Sébastien Léger