December 7, 2021

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Lee Burridge Shares 10 Key Moments For His Party & Label, All Day I Dream

And while the parties are ephemeral, their soundtracks live on, via the All Day I Dream Label — which has dropped roughly 60 releases from Burridge and friends since 2011. Today (February 12), Burridge delivers the latest ADID material, his Leee EP. The project’s four tracks add up to roughly 35 minutes of pretty, vibey music that works as well at home as it does on the dancefloor.

To celebrate a decade of dreaming, here, in his own words, Burridge shares ten formative moments of his celebrated brand.

1. The dream begins: 2007/2008

I started collecting tracks that align with All Day I Dream’s sound in 2007, when I was simply over minimal. I never really resonated with it. I ended up having a folder of about 20 of these tracks, and that was all I could find. But they all sat well together and weaved into each other, and it felt like something.

The first mix I made with this music was for my girlfriend at the time — and her dog, who used to bark when there was no music on at home. [Laughs.] She didn’t listen at first, but when she did, she loved it. After that, I started handing out the mix to a few friends who were girls, and it was just a thing. I always thought this music had a more “feminine appeal,” and I wanted to re-balance the dancefloor because in the past there were generally more dudes at parties.

The response was constantly the same: “This is beautiful, I listen to it all the time!” I did this for about a year. Resident Advisor later asked me to do a podcast, and I felt there was a wider audience for the music and this particular mix, which felt really special. That was the first step forward with sharing these different sounds.

2. An epiphany in Playa del Carmen

I played a set with this music at BPM, where Stacey Pullen was playing before me. Everyone was sitting down at that point, but soon after I started playing, everyone was up dancing. That was when I had this epiphany that I needed to play this music at events and parties out there in the world, and bring it to the dance music scene.

3. The sunset at All Day I Dream’s second party: Brooklyn, July 4, 2011

Bear in mind that Manhattan is the skyline in the distance that you can see from Brooklyn , which is obviously a gorgeous skyline. At night, you see that come alive. So the sun started to set, and other than it being a cloudy day, the color shifted so quickly and so intensely, to this kind of maroon or blood red sky — we seemed to be at the epicenter, underneath this circle of clouds that surrounded the whole thing.

Obviously the sunset itself is beautiful, and then the sky just lit up into this vivid color. Everybody who was at the party dancing was standing still, staring in that sort of “captivated by nature” kind of way. I can’t remember what I played, but something gorgeous. Every element came together. Nature was very generous that day, so beautiful sunset, amazing after sunset colors — and then it got dark suddenly. Just then is when the fireworks went off over the Manhattan skyline.

4. Forging the sound with Matthew Dekay 

I told [Dutch producer] Matthew Dekay about my idea to do an event based around his music — what it would feel like, where it would happen, that it was outdoors. I wanted to use these organic elements offset against the hardness of the city. There would be clouds and bamboo.

He listened to the original “All Day I Dream” mix over and over and over, and it became, in his words, “a Bible.” He began translating musically his vision of what he thought All Day I Dream would sound like. We worked on our first track together, “Lost in a Moment,” and Matthew was jamming on the synth for about half an hour. We pulled out the best part and couldn’t stop listening to it. He and I were just laying on the floor for an hour with this one minute loop going around and around. We just knew it had some sort of magical essence to it, that was saved within all those first releases.

These were very magical times, because we were staying in Berlin in the winter, where it’s cold and bleak, and creating something that really hadn’t been created a great deal prior.

5. Making a magical setting, then watching everyone else do the same damn thing

There was such excitement about this type of event. It felt very different to people because prior to that, it was a DJ standing between a stack of speakers, with maybe some flashing lights. Looking back now it’s charming and cute, what we did and how we produced it — because we had a limited budget — but it still had that essence of the flowing material and the lanterns, Christmas lights and all that stuff. It just had a charm to it that nobody really had done before, that I know of anyway.

When people started taking on our aesthetic, we were initially pissed off, actually — because we were developing an aesthetic and everybody was leaning in on it majorly. That was a fleeting thought, though — then I was kind of proud, because from the inception of the idea I’ve always said I wanted to encourage more people to play this music, make this music, to drop more of this concept into their own parties. Because ultimately, only so many people can come to one party. If you’re going to any party and it looks and feels better, you have a good time.

6. Junior blowing people away while singing “Lingala,” live in Golden Gate Park: San Francisco, 2016 

Junior is such a vibrant character. He just exudes love and warmth and joy. He hadn’t sung to that many people before, but suddenly, he was belting out “Lingala” in perfect pitch. He nailed it so perfectly that even I had droplets in the corner of my eye. There was a massive crowd, and he somehow connected to everyone. People were just in awe of seeing this guy sing this track that they’ve only heard on Spotify — and we’re surrounded by nature in Golden Gate park, so it was really amazing.

7. So many dancefloor romances 

We have a lot of diversity at All Day I Dream, but the beauty is the kind of person that comes has this sort of loving, openness to them. They’re very warm and sweet people. That’s how it always feels. We have couples come up to us, gay and straight, that often have the same story with slightly different words —  they say, “Hi, we just want to tell you something. We’re so grateful. We love your event, and this is my partner. We actually met at your event and we got married. Thank you so much. We were living in these cities, and we didn’t always have a way to find people that are like us.”

I think you can go to festivals and parties and nightclubs, but it doesn’t lean as heavily on community. You go, you have fun, you stay with your friends, and then you leave. With All Day I Dream, however, the music can be a focus, but you can also just wander around, and you tend to expose yourself — or you tend to find yourself exposed — to people who are happy to just chat. That’s why people have met and made great friends or life partners. I’m super proud of that.

We’ve had one or two couples who got engaged in the DJ booth. They’d ask, “I’m going to get engaged to my girlfriend. Can I do it in the DJ booth?” and it’s like, “Sure, absolutely!”

8. Dee Montero’s edit of Everything But the Girl’s “Missing”: 2018 

The original “Missing” was a special moment in dance music history, and one of the tracks that really stayed with me. I didn’t know if people would know the track, but I just saw people start to melt. By the time the second breakdown came in, which adds a little bit more of the original song, people were stunned, crying, elated.

I got that kind of goosebumps, hair-standing-up-on-my-arm moment, because the whole crowd was one. What is a DJ if you can actually create that sort of moment where that feeling runs between every person, after all?  It was just a high point, and it was the last track of the night. When it finished, there was this moment of total silence and like, “Is it over?” A pause, and there were so many people there. It was just so peaceful.

9. Partnering with Belgian producer Lost Desert: 2016-2019

Lost Desert and I just resonated as people. I never go to people’s houses anymore like that; we’re usually so busy or traveling, and I just go back to the hotel and sleep. But there was just something about him, that I knew I just wanted to hang out when we met in Belgium. At that time, I’d not really been working with anybody in the studio, and he suggested that we work together. He was really into the idea. I instantly saw that there was something special about the way he produced and the way he viewed life.

We had some time on our hands, and a bunch of tracks that suddenly felt like they were fit to go on an album. I don’t think people really listen to albums these days so much, let alone whole tracks. But for us, we decided we wanted to create a little journey. In some ways, Melt is like a mix CD — each track complements the other. We decided that we would create an album that you could dance to, but if it was on at a dinner party in the background, it would still create an ambience in the house.

The ultimate intention for ‘Melt’ is that it stands the test of time and it’s not just throwaway material that some DJs will play for a while and then forget about forever. Something that you would return to or mark a summer, a moment in time. The reaction to it was great. It stuck with people, which is another achievement, I think, to have put out an album and actually have it resonate with people, not just have them play one track.

10. Dreaming in the pandemic

I think All Day I Dream, in general, has the ability to create a soothing feeling. When the world started closing down last year, I was a little torn as to whether or not to release new music on the label, because obviously there’s no parties. There’s nobody out hearing this music.

We decided to carry on forging forward, including my EP, to give people that escapism. It might be at home. It might be on a stream online, but the music’s still important as something that helps make the day a little bit better, something that helps you feel a bit more comfort in your life. We’re all stuck in our houses or not traveling or not seeing people we love. We’re not going out dancing, but the music kind of somehow still connects us all and brings that beauty back into our lives — if only for seven minutes and 42 seconds, or whatever the length of the track is.

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