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LIFE IN THE FEST LANE

Our resident millennial, Samantha Hissong, returned to the desert to infiltrate Coachella once again, braving dust storms, crowds of approximately 90k and “the animalistic sounds of drunken frat boys,” as she puts it. While there, she somehow convinced performers Ellie Goulding, G-Eazy, James Bay, The Chainsmokers, Alessia Cara, BØRNS, Joywave, Years & Years, Zella Day and DMA’s to answer festival-related questions for HITS. They’re either incredibly kind, or her chutzpah has reached a new level—probably both.

How has Coachella treated you so far, and how was playing that stage?
G-Eazy: Everything’s been beautiful. The crowd was fucking massive. I’ve had a great time… I’m out here with a bunch of my friends; it’s dope to get to experience this all together. This is something we’ve all dreamed of and all talked about. I brought my mom out. It was her birthday the night I played, and I made the whole crowd wish her a happy birthday.


Alessia Cara: I’ve had the best time. I got to not only be a performer but a fan on top of that. Watching some of my favorite artists’ sets was really cool. As for my own, of course I was nervous, but the fact that people showed up and enjoyed themselves made 
me very happy and comforted, in a way.

How important is playing festivals to you? What benefit do you think they provide?
Ellie Goulding: It’s a really cool feeling when you start off a festival performance with 10,000 people and then, at the end, you’ve got 50,000. That’s happened before, and the idea of being able to draw people in is pretty awesome.



James Bay:
It’s very important to me, because, often, the benefit now—like with Coachella—is that these festivals get streamed online. If you’re lucky enough to be streamed online, then not only are you turning up at the festival and there’s loads of 
music and people who don’t know your stuff, who might come and discover you, but it can happen online and therefore around the world as well, more so than usual in this day and age. It’s very important, particularly because I’m not from this part of the world.



BØRNS: It’s a great way to subliminally serenade people who have never heard you before. I love the reckless love permeating from big crowds.

What is your favorite song to perform live?
Goulding: “Holding on for Life.” It’s [about] when you feel depleted and you have nothing left, but you’re kinda in it together at the end. It’s dark, but it’s a really uplifting song. It’s got a kinda gospel vibe. I love performing it; I end up getting a bit possessed, and something comes over me.

If you could share the stage to collaborate with any act for one fantastical fest moment, who would it be and why?
BØRNS: Probably Tears for Fears. It would be highly ’80s and emotional.



Joywave: Oh, shit. I think Korn or Limp Bizkit. It’d be awesome. The guitar tones that both those bands get… Ross Robinson records are like amongst my favorite. He did that Klaxons record, Surfing the Void; oh my God, I love it.



DMA’s: And it doesn’t have to be right now? Anyone involved with The Last Waltz. To play with The Band, something like that. I grew up on lots of Dylan and The Band, Joni Mitchell, and all of those people who were involved with that concert. It just seemed like a really special thing.

How are you spending your downtime?
Bay: I’m gonna try and catch The Arcs, which is Dan Auerbauch’s band; I’ve been listening to their record. When I was 13 and had my first decent bit of pocket money, I went and bought Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses, so I’d love to see those guys.



Years & Years: We don’t really have any downtime. We’re going to Phoenix tomorrow; we’re touring with Ellie Goulding as well. We have a few days in L.A., so we’re renting a beach house next week.

What’s the craziest story you’ve either personally experienced at a festival or heard of via friends/colleagues?
G-Eazy: Ah, man! I walked past these people having sex just right on the grass—literally right on the grass. And people were crowded around just watching. This was like three or four years ago. It was funny; I was like, “Wait, are they really just fucking? Yeah.”


Zella Day: I was playing a festival in Delaware that Paul McCartney was headlining. There was this string of events; I watched Paul McCartney with my band, and then this crazy lightning storm rolled in and everyone got evacuated, so then the bands backstage had to be in the white sprinter vans, because the white sprinter vans were shuttling artists from the festivals to their hotels. So there was this string of white shuttle vans with the doors open, and it was pouring rain with crazy, scary lightning, and everyone was just passing joints. It was the best thing ever. And Paul McCartney is a god, so he made sure the lightning didn’t come until he was finished with his set [laughs].


Chainsmokers: Nothing we can share about our colleagues—we aren’t snitches—but we had one fan shave her head in the front row and then eat her hair, while blankly staring at us.



Y&Y:
Someone just told me he masturbated in the portaloo, which has got to be the worst place to masturbate. It’s so low. You must be like, “What am I doing with my life?!” Why do you even need to? What are you, a gorilla? What’s going on here? [Laughs] He didn’t tell me which festival. He just looked ashamed… Actually, he didn’t look ashamed. 


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