If Midwest Freakfest was your party of choice this past Halloween, you made the right decision. The bass,vibes,and electric energy, were in full effect and going strong.All night long, dirty beats and hard drops serenaded the costumed crowds at The Max complex in McCook,IL. XDI events put together an incredible line up for the 4th annual installment of the night long Halloween festival.
It is incredible what the right line-up, producers,and crowd can turn an evening into,and the magic was definitely in the air that night. All over the enormous venue, literally an indoor turf field, clumps of fantastically dressed guests were soaking up the dirty bass.
We were also very curious about what it actually takes to make an event like this come together, so successfully year after year. Danny Souri, the head of XDI events, was nice enough to take some time out of his schedule, and give us a behind the scenes peek at how XDI continues to create the unifying and memorable events it has become known for.
So can you tell us a little bit about XDI? How long have you been around and what is your main mission in creating all these events?
XDI in itself has been around 4 1/2 years,but I have been in the business for 15 years. Our basic mission is to maintain the integrity of what once used to be a very pure form of music; which is the underground scene.We strategically book people whose passion flows through their art as much as it flows through us.That's what makes the energy and feel at one of our shows, unlike anything you can get at any corporate festival.
It obviously takes an incredible amount of work to put an event like this together, about how many hours and people does the whole process take?
Because of how tight our team works and how much we can trust each other and rely on each other incredibly we ran that show with a total staff of seven people.
What is your Job specifically in all of this ?
My direct job is a little bit different, I oversee every detail of every show... from the bathrooms, to the cleaning, to the sound and lighting, to the contracts, to the meetings with village authorities, to getting licensing, and permitting, insurance, village board meetings etc... There are so many things that have to happen and come together that not a lot of people understand. By the time it is said and done, I have personally invested easily over 1000 hours into the perfect completion of the show, between everything leading up to it, and the weeks thereafter.
They say that proof is in the pudding, and all of that hard work pays off miraculously when you see a group of strangers come together over a night of top shelf music. As the night wore on, the party just kept growing, with more people showing up, crowding closer to the stage and speakers.
There is obviously so many details and small parts in the planning process. What would you say is the hardest part of the entire production process, and bringing it from concept to realization?
Breaking through the barriers created by some of the "big guys" in the game. There is a strong political force that controls the bigger artists, making it harder for guys like us to do business with some of the major agencies that are out there. So we have to be very strategic about how we put together our shows. The hardest part about all this is making sure that every artist complement each other, not only by their style of music but by the environment that they create around themselves. From backstage, to onstage, to in front of the crowd and everything else. Putting together a bunch of moving parts that complement each other and work flawlessly is one of the hardest things to do. But I'll tell you this much: to see it all come together and have a room full of people losing their minds makes every single bit of it worth it. It's not easy being the biggest little guy!
XDI might be the little guy ,but they provide an atmosphere and experience you would be hard pressed to find at some of the big name shows. Either way, with the size of their event roster as big as it is and fans asking for more, we're sure this won't stay little for long.
So your fourth year must be really exciting, what are some of the most hectic or exciting moments that stand out to you from the last few years?
At one point I remember looking out onto the crowd and seeing everybody turn their heads and look at each, other and just literally smile at each other, while they were all losing their minds in sync and falling victim to the beat of the music. Bringing over 3,500 people together as strangers, and within one night making them united is an incredible feeling. When you throw the shows for the people, and you forget about the bottom line, it really brings out the purest of humanity when they come together.
It does really get much more pure than what we saw on that Saturday night. The underground scene is alive and well in chicago.
All of that that sounds breath taking, but what’s next for XDI? Are there any exciting plans for the future that you can let us in on?
We have a Thanksgiving show coming up a winter formal that we do where we have everybody dressed up in suits and prom dresses and rage their face off. Other than that we are planning a major push for this upcoming year starting in March/April utilizing our entire new venue. Needless to say it's going to be a big year for David versus Goliath round two.
Who are some of the artists that you wish to bring to an XDI event in the near future?
I'm not giving up those kind of secrets just yet.
Hey ,we thought it was worth a shot! From what we have seen so far, it will absolutely be worth the wait.
I encourage all young producers and DJs to keep pushing their craft and continuing to send us submissions as one of our favorite things to do is to take rookies and put them on the stages so they can learn experience. Because you never know when we find a next diamond in the rough as we have created so many careers along the way. Nothing is more fulfilling than helping someone achieve their dream
Do you have any plans to collaborate with other production companies?
If their message is as pure as ours we are always interested. However we have been betrayed and attacked in the past, and those scars are still pretty deep, so we are more than likely to stick with our internal family to secure that we provide the purest shows designed for the people. But the doors are never closed. Just monitored a little tighter.
Understandably so! It is no wonder XDI is on top of their game. The mentality behind each production speaks volumes about what they hope to bring back to the scene. The feeling of unity and respect is ever present, and something a lot of purists think is missing from the mainstream scene. We love the different approach used by companies like XDI.
Thank you very much for taking some time to let us pick your brain.Last question though, If there was something that you want everyone to know about XDI and the future of this amazing company, what would it be?
No matter what hurdle, what situation, or any of the powers that be, we will never stop fighting. We will continue to maintain the integrity of what brings us together as a community. All we ask is for the support of the people.
Any last thoughts or words of wisdom for our readers ?
Final message from the 1st Church of XDI. "In the name of the Bass, the Drums, and the Raver Spirit...Wonk" "May the Bass be with you"