4. Pittsburgh USA
Famous for forging steel, bleeding football, and loving rock music, the western Pennsylvania city of Pittsburgh is not naturally associated with a cutting-edge electronic music scene.
Steel City is in fact home to a tight-knit crew of electronic producers in underground venues light years beyond the one-off EDM nights popping up at local bars. “Pittsburgh gravitates towards a backdoor scenario,” says Quinn Leonowicz, who, along with Lauren Goshinski, founded VIA, a local festival and events series merging music, tech, and visual art. “People here like to search for the music.”
Those in-the-know gravitate to parties like the weekly Hot Mass, which takes place every Sunday at a member’s only bathhouse. Preferred genres span the gamut, with many locals who grew up listening to noise music and hip-hop incorporating those influences into their work. Techno DJ, Hot Mass co-founder and core VIA member Aaron Clark will surely push a bold agenda as the Cultural Programming Director for the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh, opening this December 10.
Dubbed “the city of bridges,” Pittsburgh is nestled at the at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, and many of the thousand or so core scenesters are Pittsburgh natives, creating a strong sense of hometown pride. The city’s low cost of living makes it possible for these artists to make music without having to grind as hard as they would in bigger metropolises. Make no mistake though; Pittsburgh doesn’t lack focus. “Everyone here,” Leonowicz says, “is really hungry.”
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