A raging stormcloud of dust rolls down a San Bernardino hillside as a stampede of ravers rushes the Basscon tent at Insomniac’s Nocturnal Wonderland 2016. Screams and hollers of anticipation fill the overstuffed circus tent as clusters of attendees spill out the sides. The stage manager, unused to such commotion, adds bodies to the security detail and erects extra barricades in front of the stage.
Dayvid Lundie-Sherman, aka Saymyname, grabs the microphone. “Nocturnal, let’s do this!” A short, suspenseful buildup of classical music — then, BOOM! A wall of bass practically knocks the crowd to the grassy floor of the dusty tent. They scream in delight, begging for more.
Perhaps they can’t vocalize it precisely at this moment, but the crowd clamors for the “hard trap drop.” The drop feels like a tidal wave of bass on the Basscon speaker array as snare hits and speedy hi-hats accentuate its force. Then, just when they think they’re safely on dry land, Saymyname hits them with the ubiquitous hardstyle kick drum, never letting them rest.
Saymyname is the “Godfather of Hard Trap,” a fusion of the hardstyle and trap subgenres of electronic dance music. Principally, hardstyle is characterized by its obsessive demands for ever more outrageous kick drums, and trap is characterized by its “drops,” where the bassline takes prominence in the track as its time signature is cut in half. Since he couldn’t figure out which sound he liked more, Saymyname simply fused the two, and the dance music world has been better for it ever since.
Born in Humboldt County, Lundie-Sherman's family soon moved to Los Angeles, which he still calls home. At the age of 16, in 2008, he got his first real taste of EDM after seeing Deadmau5 and Steve Aoki live. About a year later, he heard hardstyle on a proper sound system at 2009’s Monster Massive. Meanwhile, he was playing with Apple’s Garage Band music software, testing the waters of music production. “I was tinkering with hardstyle, trying to making house, dubstep. Like, if I heard a dubstep song I’d try to make it,” he says.
After arriving at Chapman College, he continued his music production efforts on a modest computer with a simple MIDI keyboard, so as to not distract his dorm-mates with a more elaborate, noisy setup. While experimenting with software such as Acid, Reason, Sylenth and Ableton, he stumbled upon the fusion that would make him a father of a musical genre and created a trap remix of Showtek’s famous hardstyle anthem, “FTS.”
L.A. trap heroes Slander got wind of the remix and spread the word, creating a near SoundCloud riot as trap junkies hurriedly downloaded the track. Lundie-Sherman then made more such remixes and eventually entered Insomniac’s Discovery Project in 2013, wherein the winner got to perform at Electric Daisy Carnival. The fusion of hardstyle and trap caught the judges' ear, and Saymyname won the competition.
Despite his newfound EDC fame, Saymyname still had college courses to complete and bills to pay in the everyday world. But as Saymyname was working his day job, checking bags at the Guitar Center exit, on the other side of the planet, Parisian superstar DJ Snake was discovering his remixes. Snake spread the young producer's music to some of the biggest EDM acts in the world. Soon, his remixes blasted from festival speaker stacks worldwide. The Chainsmokers, Carnage, David Guetta and Martin Garrix have all dropped Saymyname tracks in their sets. At this year’s Electric Daisy Carnival, Saymyname’s tracks were heard on every stage in the festival — three times, in fact, on the mainstage.
Saymyname carefully constructs his sound in his home studio. “The hardest part of making a track is the intro into the build,” he says, referring to the part of the song that builds up anticipation for the aforementioned “drop.” No matter how furious the drop, without the right buildup it will be ineffective. Amazingly, Saymyname still constructs his masterpieces from a bedroom studio, an inspiration to aspiring electronic dance music producers worldwide.
Saymyname's success is more living proof that the music game has changed — for many producers, making the leap from bedroom studio to festival mainstage is an achievable goal. And subgenres and flavors of dance music once halted at the gate of commercial success by corporate gatekeepers can now make the world sit up and take notice. The stampede at Nocturnal Wonderland was essentially a musical flash mob, as festivalgoers in the know texted or Snapchatted to their friends about his performance that night.
And the stampede isn’t over. With recently completed remixes for Redman and Jayceeoh and more on the way for Slander and Snake, Saymyname soon will release his next EP to take the hard trap sound to the next level. It's all further proof that the bedroom studio is taking over the music industry, and Saymyname is leading the charge.
You can hear Saymyname on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at Insomniac's Awakening night at Exchange L.A., with 4B and Hoodboi. Tickets and more info.