Michael Deeds: DJ Morgan Page puts 3D into dance music

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comNovember 8, 2013 

After mixing in front of audiences full time for seven years, DJ Morgan Page knows when and how to pull their strings.

“Silence works. Buildups. Drops. Certain mixes. Key changes,” he says. “There’s all these things that are pretty predictable, and you know what’s going to happen.”

Not always anymore. Things have become fresh again for the two-time Grammy moninee, who will bring his ambitious “Morgan Page Presents Tour” to Boise’s Knitting Factory on Nov. 14. Page’s two-hour set — an immersive 3D experience that even James Cameron couldn’t resist — is helping take electronic dance music to a face-melting new corner of the galaxy.

Using the same company that created 3D for Michael Jackson’s tragically canceled “This Is It” tour, Page concocted a hi-tech audio-visual trip that has changed the EDM playing field. It’s like seeing a 3D movie, he says, but without the constrictions of plot — and with better glasses. (“These are not senior citizen, BluBlocker, giant glasses,” he quips.)

The visceral blend of beats and visuals — zooming over landscapes, blasting through the heavens — sends the room into hyperspace.

Audiences sometimes react, he says, “in ways that are shocking.”

For the first 10 minutes, most fans “kind of stand there with their mouth open. They’re not quite sure what to do,” he explains, chuckling. “It’s really fun to watch. And then gradually, they realize, ‘Oh, they can dance, they can move around — the glasses will stay on.’”

Then it’s game on.

Before the tour began, Page tweeted:

His confidence has grown while observing the nightly reaction — which is a good thing, because this 50-plus date trek was an expensive, time-consuming risk.

“I don’t make any money on the tour,” he says. “Every dollar, every penny goes back into the show to pay for this.”

“For the longest time, I’ve never invested back into the show,” he explains. “It’s always been you do what you love, you get paid a lot of money to play your music and other people’s music and you fly home. And you make a lot of money considering that you don’t have to bring a band or play any instruments.

“But with this, it’s really about reinvesting this back into my brand and making it into an experience that people want to see again and again. To do something unique and different. ... I think that there’s an oversaturation of shows now and festivals. You have to keep doing more engaging, more inspiring and different productions. To me, just playing records and having visuals in the background wasn’t enough.”

The biggest confirmation of coolness for the show, which takes a crew about eight hours to set up, came while rehearsing at Cameron’s Lightstorm studios. Hearing bass bleeding through walls, Cameron’s staffers wandered over from where they were filming “Avatar 2.” Soon enough, Cameron appeared, too.

“He’s like the godfather of 3D, and he said he was really impressed,” Page says incredulously. “It was pretty amazing.”

CHANNEL 6’S ‘ANCHORMAN’

A 5-minute clip of KIVI Channel 6 Sports Director Paul Gerke channeling Ron Burgundy during a Halloween broadcast has surpassed 3 million YouTube views. Crazy.

Your move, channels 2 and 7.

Michael Deeds’ column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life.

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