Desert Hearts Festival Review Spring 2018

Photo Credit: GetTiny

Photo Credit: GetTiny

Written By: Kainoa Owens

The Desert Hearts Festival 2018 was nothing short of amazing! Back home for their 10th year anniversary at the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation!

Over the years, the festival has become known as one of the most popular, if not the best, ‘boutique festival’ to date. The festival brought a plethora of artists and performers from around the globe, creating a unique positive and loving atmosphere for their audience or techno-crazed-enthusiasts. The other forms of artistic participation ranged from yoga, sound healing, and more, however my most favorite was Shane and the Healing Sanctuary.

Photo Credit: GetTiny

Photo Credit: GetTiny

While normally boasting 3000-3500 capacity festival-goers each year, Desert Hearts truly could not contain their excitement, or their rate-of-inclusivity this year, as it seemed more like 5000 techno-ready souls dancing in the moonlight.

Photo Credit: Haley Busch

Photo Credit: Haley Busch


Despite the increase in capacity, the energy and message that Desert Hearts brings every year, ‘House, Techno, & Love.., We Are All Desert Hearts’, created a blissful dreamy wonderland that encouraged individuals to add onto the experience and express themselves in their own unique way.

Photo Credit: Jess Bernstein

Photo Credit: Jess Bernstein

This was my first Desert Hearts Festival experience, and it certainly will not be my last! The amount of love and freedom of expression was truly something to experience, and make your-own. The vibes and love from experienced Desert Heart goers, and new Desert Heart attendees (like myself) were of paradise.

Of course, unanimously the most influential part about Desert Hearts is the connection between us like-minded beautiful souls as we collectively sway ourselves to the ‘one stage, one vibe, one love’ in order to dance, and come together as a family to enjoy the eclectic sounds that these amazing producers and DJs exhibited.

Photo Credit: Haley Busch

Photo Credit: Haley Busch

Hands down my favorite performance of the weekend was Porky, Lee Reynolds, and Damian Lazarus.., back to back to back!

This trio took the stage late Saturday night into Sunday morning absolutely stacking the dance floor, and demolishing ears and similarly melting faces left and right, including my own.

Matt Tolfrey Unites with Desert Hearts Label


Written By: Kainoa Owens

Desert Hearts have been very busy spreading their influence and mantra “House, Techno, & Love” across North America and some spots around the globe. Now, in their 6th rotation around the sun, they have recruited UK powerhouse DJ and producer, Matt Tolfrey!

His newest EP Nothing Like Home on the Desert Hearts label is out NOW!

This EP presents two tracks, ‘Nothing Like Home’ and ‘Fallen’.

Using an eclectic style of futuristic sounds, buzzy bass lines, as well as percussion components, his cultivating sound provokes an ‘it’s about to go down’ dance-craze.

These tasty beats have received huge support from a plethora of established artists such as, Desert Hearts producer Mikey Lion, Josh Butler, Audiojack, and more.

Mikey Lion, in particular, has described the EP as “one of [his] all-time favorite releases” signed to the Desert Hearts label.

Tolfrey never settles using one style, continuously experimenting with techno, house, and deep style beats that make you want to lose yourself in the rhythm.

His success can be traced back to his celebrated 13+ year label ‘Leftroom’, where for the 10th year anniversary, released a decade worth of compiled Leftroom classics, as well as unreleased delicates from collaborating artists including ‘Guti, Kate Simko, Chez Damier, and more.


Matt Tolfrey has been proving himself to be one of the more unique DJs in the industry. Renowned by fellow tech-house phenom Seth Troxler, as "the last great British DJ," Tolfrey has continuously delivered delightful sounds and beats for the last 15+ years, proving himself to be a exuberant DJ/Producer.

Having now been welcomed into the Desert Hearts label and family, we can expect nothing less than truly transcendent techno-tunes that tantalize our soul.

Matt Tolfrey and his all-embracing style and sounds mirror the positive love, connection and creativity that permeates around all Desert Hearts festivals and collaborations.

Below you can listen to his latest EP as well as his 'Ten Years of Leftroom Mix', and be sure to experience him in person April 27th - 30th at the Desert Hearts Spring 2018 Festival!

CRSSD Festival Fall 2017

Photo Credit: Julian Bajsel - @jbajsel

CRSSD Festival Fall 2017 was another one for books. CRSSD's bi-annual party is now an official staple in San Diego’s electronic scene and it's evident! The festival has matured, the music was selectively curated, and FNGRS CRSSD Promotions has done a great job perfecting the party process. A lot of the kinks have been worked out and the event ran smoothly. 


CRSSD festival has come into its own. The three main stages deliver and there is always a good vibe between party goers. The mix of festival goers ranges from burners to surfers and everything in between. I’ve attended CRSSD for a the past two years and I’m always amazed at how chill and respectful the crowds are.



Saturday started off beautifully with warm weather, clear skies and continued through Sunday. My two favorite acts for the weekend were Breakbot and Chromeo. Breakbot was a nice surprise. I hadn't heard of them until now! They nicely mesh together live music with an electronic sound and a throwback 70’s vibe. I danced and grooved my way through their whole set. The crowd was much bigger Sunday and Chromeo smashed the house as usual. I have seen Chromeo three times now and they consistently deliver. Some of the other notable acts for the weekend were RÜFÜS DU SOL, Cut Copy, Damian Lazarus and the Ancient Moons, Richie Hawtin, Emancipator, The Magician, and many more.


I feel like CRSSD is something hardcore music heads look forward to. The festival has transformed into a must attend event on the festival circuit and is putting SD on the house and techno map!

Groove Cartel: A new House variation that could take over the dance floors around the world.

Will and Cary photo by:  Groove Cartel Instagram

Will and Cary photo by: Groove Cartel Instagram

By Tom Spiegel

Electronic Music in Mexico started to be really important in the early 2000's. The international live acts started to look at that third world country as an ideal spot to play shows when they all realized the inhabitants had developed a certain level of taste for this genre. Mexicans' natural taste for dance and the party also had something to do with it, and soon a native scene was growing fast. Early Mexican EDM artists' first influences included Sasha, the Chemical Brother, Fatboy Slim and Groove Armada. Not too soon after those artists made it to Mexican ears, psychedelic trance also made its way to cities such as Guadalajara. 

It is precisely in Guadalajara where the main subject of this interview was born. His name is William Gonzalez and he is a true trendsetter when it comes to Mexican electronic music producers. His journey has taken him through some of the hottest dance floors in Mexico; it has taken him high enough to meet the world famous Infected Mushroom, and from that meeting his current project, Groove Cartel was born. 
They've been playing live together for only a few months, but in that time, Will and Cary have managed to establish a message of positive vibrations with a groovy feeling in this new Tech House Variation. They call it Groove House. 

Full disclosure: Will and I know each other personally from my raving days in Guadalajara. My first impression of him was formed at a house party. He's joyful human being who always has a smile to give and a whole lot of talent to share with everyone. He was kind enough to grant Kinofilia this interview without Cary, who was in Los Angeles at the moment. I told Will that I'd be asking about their history and how this Groove Cartel movement came together, so sit back and enjoy this lengthy interview because there is a lot of ground to cover. 

Photo credit:  Menbar Photos

Photo credit: Menbar Photos

Kinofilia: So I guess the best way to start is by asking you who this other guy is, how did you guys meet?

Will: "Cary White is from Lake Tahoe in California. He studied drums in a sort of conservatory. He has played them all his life and while working as a drummer in Tahoe and near Los Angeles, he worked hard making connections. He played for a while with a band called Metro Station who are multi-platinum. They play pop/rock music. After that, he played with Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine in a band he formed, and then he started playing with Infected Mushroom who now live in Los Angeles. They met and hit it off right away. They started touring around the continent and Cary has basically been busy doing that."

Cary White

Cary White

"When the two guys from Infected (Duvdev and Erez) started thinking about expanding, they came to Los Angeles and with the classical music background they have, they started thinking about playing their music in a live format which is the Infected Mushroom Live Band that we all know. It's a very well-organized project that has its basis in pshychedelic trance but they also have a hint of rock. They have a sick show. That's actually how I met them in person."

Kinofilia: How did that come about?

Will: "I met them in Mexico City. The first time I had the chance to contact them in any shape or form, was inside some Beatport charts back in 2011 when that electronic genre was wildly active in the country. On that website, how it works is that artists in general share their top ten picks of the best tracks from that month. One day I noticed they supported a song I produced that is called 'Savage' I think, I obviously flipped out at the idea that Infected Mushroom liked one of my songs. That's the first time I contacted them and a while later I realized they were going to perform at Pepsi Center in Mexico City in 2013."

Kinofilia: And then what happened?

Will: "That's when I decided to write to them. I have always thought that opportunities only come when you go after them, so I wrote them an e-mail. I was like, 'Hello Infected Mushroom, I really appreciate you supporting my song. I just realized you are performing in Mexico and I would like to help you guys out in the only way I see fit which is by playing music for you. I would love to be your opening act. That is if you allow me of course.' They quickly responded, actually they were really nice about it and told me they would be keen on doing that but I couldn't do anything unless they requested it."

"They were actually really cool about it, we arranged my opening act through some very diplomatic messages at first. I traveled to DF and played in their concert. At the end I came over to them and we started talking about music. I thought, "These are two guys who are very polite and diplomatic, with an impressive vision for business." So that's where I met Cary. After a few beers I immediately hit it off with him. We started talking about the industry and future plans. That's when he told me he wanted to start something new."

"Back then I was a little bit shy, I was going through a difficult time in my life. I was coming from one of the most difficult months of my life, actually, some really heavy personal and economic issues. I was in limbo. Actually, a day before the gig I was really close to not going to Mexico City because I didn't even have money for the trip, but a friend of mine at the time let me borrow 1,200 pesos for the trip and that's how I made it. It wasn't my best show, but making that trip changed everything for me, it was a learning process that proved to be beneficial for me because I met Cary and I also met Duvdev and Erez with whom I kept contact  later when they visited Mexico again."

Kinofilia: Ok so, now that we know how you and Cary met, I'd like to know how your whole production process happens. Who does what and how do you divide work?

Will: "We divide chores into several layers. First of all, any creation process needs to have a proper inception. In general, he is the one who sends me most of the ideas for any song. I pretty much always compare his ideas with mine and then proceed to select the best ones to start producing something. Once I have a clear idea of what we are both looking for, I spend time at my studio and start mixing or producing the music. Because we aren't together - he is in Los Angeles and I'm in Guadalajara - I'm the one who has invested more in equipment to do all the mixing and producing."

"It's way easier for me having an objective technical reference about what I'm doing and then sending him the ideas of what I produce in the studio. He has a good sense of rhythm and he has quick thinking. As soon as I send him a one-minute idea for example, he quickly suggests other complementary ideas that help me complete the track with the best possible quality. It's that same back and forth process that lasts between three and four days for a single track. I pretty much always begin with a percussion section, bass, kick and high hats on the first day. I produce that as clean as I possibly can. Then I try to balance it as well as I can. Then on the next day all we do is share our melodic input for each track."

Kinofilia: Sweet, and what genre would you call this style you have? Because I see influence from a lot of different concepts. It has house. It has some progressive trance influence, but it's a whole new different thing on its own. 

Will: "At first we were thinking about doing something like adding a whole new style as a little bit of marketing, as if we were aiming to create a whole new genre, a new sound. But finding a name for that genre was complicated, so we decided to combine the group's name with the genre. We call it Groove House because to us, it's a type of house that isn't tech house. It's not techno either because it's not as cold or raw as techno tends to be. The whole sequence and composition is a bit more free, a bit more bubbly. It's a lot like a new genre that has been blowing up in Asia called Power House but that's a name that doesn't resonate with me that much really."

"Groove House gives it a more fun spin and ring to it, it has more flavor. So this is not completely tech house because sometimes you listen to some really boring tech house, it's music to just hang out and not really dance that much. I think that because of my trance background, we also have some progressive trance elements."

Kinofilia: Groove House sounds perfect! And speaking of influence, which are your main influences in electronic music besides the obvious classic rock and classical music you have from your childhood and adolescence?

Will: "One of my biggest influences is a dude called Didi or Bizarre Contact who is starting to focus a lot more in producing tech house. He is incredible, one of the producers I deeply respect because his work is remarkable. He is a great human being as well. I actually gave classes where I analyzed the harmony of many of his songs. He recently played his first tech house set and talking to him, he told me this is a huge moment, and I think the same way as he does."

Kinofilia: How old is Groove Cartel?

Will: "This project was born between June and July this year. We have been invited to perform in several places so far. The problem is that I haven't been able to travel for many of the invitations we've gotten so far. I've been working 24/7 in Mexico because I'm more interested in opening this act here in Mexico. We look at Groove Cartel, and we are business partners. As such, we both have to keep in mind the best interest in the project. Right now we don't have the range the best in the world have. Being honest electronic music is not very profitable."

"This has a lot to do with self-funding, you have to be prepared to work really hard at first and then start getting results about six months or a year later. Playing our music at Burning Man, for example, has been a great help. That happened thanks to a series of contacts Cary got in LA. He started showing our stuff to some producers over there and we got invited. Unfortunately, Cary told me just a few weeks before the festival, a trip to Burning man involves getting mentally, psychologically, emotionally and economically prepared, and I just wasn't ready for it. You are ten days in the desert. The desert literally wants to kill you. It wants to leave you dry as a corpse as soon as possible. You need to be very well-prepared for that."

Groove Cartel  @ Burning Man

Groove Cartel @ Burning Man

Kinofilia: Yeah! It must be great knowing your music is being heard in one of the best music festivals in the world. And what's next for Groove Cartel?

Will: "Right now we are preparing a showcase in Guadalajara, the first official Groove Cartel event in town. I would like to tell you everything. The event will take place in about a month in a place that has had good artists performing in Guadalajara, but right now I can't give you more details. I want to bring people from all over the country, people who know me and have shared a lot with me throughout the years, mostly people who have been close to me and love their job. I think those connections are the ones that make this whole experience of making music worth your while. The official invitation will come out three weeks prior to the event. We want it to be a private event. We want a fluent dance floor where we can all enjoy the music and dance because this isn't deep house, we need enough space to dance freely."

Kinofilia: Will it be just you guys playing? Or will you have other artists in that event as well?

Will: "We've been looking at other artists who can do the warm-up and some others who can close the event because we want to be democratic with the range of music we want for the event. Everybody likes something different, we want someone playing techno at the end and something more down tempo for the warm-up. We don't just want people to come and enjoy the new project, we also want people to have a great party night where we can offer this new project as a bonus."

Will: "I have a very clear vision of what I want, the professional decisions I make are based on the professional goals I have as a producer. Right now, Groove Cartel is a project in which I'm dedicating my heart and soul because I have a mission to accomplish with it. I want to get to a certain point and when I get there I just want to keep going forward with it. I have some other personal projects and a few more that I'm doing collectively, one of them will be released in October. One of those projects has been in development for a year and a half and by the end of this month we'll get together to polish it and fifteen days later we will release the first video. This is also electronic music with some indy urban influence."

William Gonzalez

William Gonzalez

Kinofilia: We'll be happy to attend your event and cover it in Guadalajara. Just to end this tasty minutes you've given us, could you tell us what your vision for the future is and where do you see yourself in a few years?

Will: "I have a very clear vision of what I want, the professional decisions I make are based on the professional goals I have as a producer. Right now, Groove Cartel is a project in which I'm dedicating my heart and soul because I have a mission to accomplish with it. I want to get to a certain point and when I get there I just want to keep going forward with it. I have some other personal projects and a few more that I'm doing collectively, one of them will be released in October. One of those projects has been in development for a year and a half and by the end of this month we'll get together to polish it and fifteen days later we will release the first video. This is also electronic music with some indy urban influence."

During this 45 minute interview, Will was very gracious about the whole set of questions I had for him. My impression is that people like him, those who stay humble and grounded, are the ones who usually succeed in what they do. He has always been a wildly talented dude who never acts better than anyone in an elitist way, and that's the key to being liked by everyone. He already knows the amazing art he produces. All he cares about is sharing it and that's the reason why I am confident he will succeed alongside Cary. 

Mr. White was unfortunately absent for this interview. When he comes to Mexico in October, we gladly extend an invitation to give us a second interview so that we can share more of his life and background with all our readers. Maybe after Groove Cartel's show in Guadalajara... By that time you will be blowing up and we'll have the first exclusive if you give us the honor! Thanks Will for doing this with us, we hope you like it. Groove Cartel's new release, 'It's Alrite,' is out now and you can listen to it on their official Soundcloud page. It's part of a 12-track repertoire they have ready for us when their first big event comes to Guadalajara. Check it out!

You can also check out all of Groove Cartel's social media outlets and web page here:

Their official website.

Instagram account.

Soundcloud account.

Facebook page.

Their official presentation in Mexico will take place on October the 15th in Guadalajara.