OUTLIER is coming to North America, transforming expectations of what an electronic music event experience is supposed be. Headed by the renowned musician Simon Green, better known as Bonobo, the series exemplifies his own musical perspective with creativity and experimentation as its driving forces. With several successful years of events in European festivals and venues, and the development of a radio show and a playlist curated by Bonobo himself, Outlier has been establishing its place in the industry while remaining open to continuous evolution.
Bonobo photo by Neil Krug
Deciding to bring the series to North America was an idea that has been in the works for a while, as Bonobo was hoping to introduce a more “European style” event into areas where audiences would appreciate its concept and energy. Unique venues that set the scene for the unexpected were searched for, in cities whose established electronic music scenes would be open to experimenting with something new. As he shares with us:
“It’s been a thing I’ve been doing in Europe for a few years and it’s a thing we’ve always talked about doing, trying to get this thing together for North America and finding more interesting spaces to do it in. Not just the regular venues that everyone is used to going to.”
These interesting spaces include the Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver, an outdoor block party at the Midway in San Francisco, and the Lakefront Green at Theater on the Lake in Chicago.
“We wanted to do them in cities that would get what we’re trying to do. Chicago for example, I’ve got my agent based in Chicago and he found this space. It’s going to be nice, an outside thing with the Chicago skyline behind… it’s going to be a really nice experience.”
Surrounded by nature, next to Lake Michigan with beautiful cityscape views, the scene is set to accomplish what Bonobo aims to do throughout all of his Outlier events. Exploratory parties that differ from the usual club or festival, he says “It’s less focused on the stage, and more about the kind of experience.” For every person that experience may be something different, but to get an audience free from the norm and willing to experiment with other possibilities of what electronic music can provide is what drives Bonobo to continue expanding the Outlier brand.
“It’s going to be really exciting to do something that’s more interesting than just going to see the DJ at the same clubs forever, and I think that is something that’s going to be fun.”
With the locations chosen, the lineups needed to be carefully selected in order to fulfill the creative, unexpected, and experimental essence of Outlier. One of the driving forces for Bonobo’s selections came from his relationships with the artists, their friendships giving him a confidence in their appreciation for the concept and ability to create an atmosphere that fits what the shows are all about. For Chicago’s event, Bonobo is bringing in support from Chicago house music icon Derrick Carter, London-based DJ Boring, Latin-inspired jazz-house/dance artist Quantic, International house/disco/techno purveyor Juan Maclean, and electronic conceptualist Machinedrum.
“A lot of it is friends, really,” Bonobo says, “people I have known and played with in the past, who I feel are going to represent the vibe of what I’m trying to do. And then, Chicago with Derrick Carter, it’s kind of a local hero so that’s pretty special. And then friends, really. It’s all about creating this vibe that sort of comes across as a very natural thing. I think something that’s the right balance for everyone, not just straight club music but it’s a little bit of everything.”
Bonobo’s passion for “pushing something a little bit further and doing something a little bit different” has been evident in his artistic career, where he has taken electronic music to new levels through experimentation and adaptation. This willingness to go past expectations extends into Outlier’s events, where he has been setting the scene for something special, inviting audiences to have a brand new experience where he says “the idea is to arrive with an open mind.” In bringing Outlier to North America, Bonobo is building on an ever-evolving concept: “an expansion of whatever Outlier is, which I’m trying to figure out.” With this continuous development in mind, each person who joins the journey will become a part of creating the future of what Outlier will become, one moment at a time.
Tickets for the July 6 2019 OUTLIER show Lakefront Green at Theater On The Lake are on sale now at metrochicago.com. For shows in Denver August 2, San Francisco August 3 and Brooklyn August 17 2019, visit bonobomusic.com.