Quarantine has affected everyone, including Dylan Ragland.
“I’ve gone through a spectrum of emotions, just like everyone,” he confides. “What’s crazy about this virus is it has impacted everyone, some people less, some people more. Especially people in the arts – people in music, film, theatre, dance – whatever it might be, a lot of us rely on gigs. We are very based on the demand at the moment. Especially with music, you can be in and out in an instant.”
Ragland is more famously known as Party Favor, an artist well-regarded for his EDM hits. With hits reaching over 40 million streams, he’s collaborated with some of the biggest names in the business and has a long-standing residency with Hakkasan Group in Vegas. From the stages of Coachella to EDC, Party Favor has made a name for himself by constantly pushing the envelope of the music scene.
In this week’s episode of the L.A. Weekly podcast, publisher and host Brian Calle has a candid conversation with the EDM star to discuss how Party Favor came to be and how his artistry is fairing in quarantine.
“I think that for me, I’ve always just loved performing. I love being on stage or whatever aspect it is, and making someone else have the best time in their life. To me, that’s what I love about music,” says Party Favor, giving a brief origin story.
2020 threw him and the rest of the world a curve ball, when COVID-19 stopped life in its tracks.
“I spent the better part of the last seven years nonstop touring … all of the sudden it’s all gone,” he mourns. “No more shows, no more sources of income. I’ve had to flip around and find other ways to continue the Party Favor brand but also find ways to be creative and get it out to my fan base that’s still there.”
He found his way.
Party Favor Presents: Isolation, A Live Stream Festival takes place this Saturday, July 18th from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. PST. His debut livestream festival, Party Favor Presents: Isolation, is an all-day event that will showcase live performances from some of his favorite artists, including: A-Trak, Dillon Francis, SOFI TUKKER, DJ SLIINK, Bijou, Craze, Kendoll, Nina Las Vegas, Slumberjack and Jon Casey.
“I feel like we’ve all been isolated, so I wanted to create an online festival to raise some money for charity and highlight artists I love,” he explains. “For me, this festival was just a chance to showcase artists that I love that deserve to keep getting better and have a better platform.”
Isolation has got us all down. In order to try and keep himself from slumping too far into the Q-hole, he doggedly kept up a creative routine to keep his spirits up.
“All the sessions, all the things that I had planned, they’re gone, they’re kaput,” he tells Brian. “There’s nothing in person, all that stopped. So I thought ‘okay I’ve got myself.’ I’m going to challenge myself to make at least one beat, if not a couple songs, a week. And just try to do things that I wasn’t normally going to naturally gravitate towards as Party Favor. So they started becoming this thing, and I started giving them out to fans, they were on Soundcloud and this and that. And then it got bigger and bigger and I wanted to turn it into an album, so that’s where we are now.”
Weirdly enough, quarantine ended up being a good thing for the DJ, as he found his way back to that raw, personal creativity that made him follow his dreams in the first place.
“It helped me fall back in love with making music, which I had started to kind of fall away from,” he confesses. “When you’re kind of in the rat race of it all there’s so much that your always focusing on, so being able to kind of stop and make stuff and not stop and think ‘oh how is this commercially going to do on the radio’ or ‘how is this going to go at a show’ it’s almost like I was making music for myself again and that was really, really nice.”
How do you replicate a live music experience? Short answer: you can’t really, but you can try to make it as immersive as possible by creating a sense of community and togetherness.
“There’s something about music and being around other people, you’re experiencing something together,” describes Party Favor. And he’s right. For the most part, isolation is something we are all experiencing together.
The event will be broadcast live from Party Favor’s YouTube, Twitch and Facebook. Each artist featured (including Party Favor himself), will be recording and performing sets on their own. You may see some intimate sets from an artists’ own home, or something radical from a location you’d never expect. As to where he’ll be streaming from, Party Favor is remaining mum in order to keep an element of surprise.
“Every single person is doing their own thing,” he tells Brian. “In that way I think it’s really cool, because you get to see each artists’ personal representation of themselves.”
Just as every artist is doing their own thing, so is every viewer. Free to watch from wherever you want – even your bathtub.
“It’s free to watch, free to hang out and have a good time,” Party Favor laughs, inviting Brian to stream from wherever he is most comfortable.
The Isolation Live Stream Festival was born out of a desire to remind us all that though times are tough, none of us are alone in our struggle. We went into this pandemic and quarantine with an end in sight, and now we are back almost in square one. It takes a toll on everyone.
“We’re all in this together, and you kind of just have to power through it,” encourages our guest.
With new tracks like “IT MIGHT NOT SEEM LIKE IT RIGHT NOW, BUT IT GETS BETTER,” we’re holding on tight to Party Favor’s newest album – The Isolation Album (2020) – and looking forward to the day it does.