DJ Booths And Day Spas: A Weekend At Coachella With A-Trak
If anything is guaranteed in life besides death and taxes, it’s that every year tens of thousands of people brave the drought and heat to flood into Coachella Valley in Indio, California, for the most infamous music festival since Woodstock. Music lovers mingle (and probably share drugs with) celebrities while they hit up the best musicians that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has to offer. We’ve seen the floral prints and crowns, and heard about what performers slayed the stage in a haze of weed.
In between checking out shows and sweating in the 100-degree weather, Milk fave photographer Koury Angelo linked up with A-Trak (born Alain Macklovitch) to document a day in the life of the legendary DJ. As the final twenty-four hours of the festival came to a close, the duo wasted no time jumping between enough music, parties, and DJ sets to leave us feeling dazed and confused. From the infamous Jeremy Scott and W Hotels afterparty to a relaxing wellness retreat, this is what A-Trak, in his own words, was up to on the first weekend of Coachella.
Saturday Night: Coachella brings out a mix of the SoCal socialites, various fashionistas, a few recognizable social network lurkers, and then some good ole’ party people. These photos just show that people really put on their Sunday’s best. They really dress up to go to Coachella. My favorite, personally, is the unexpected weirdos more than the people who do follow fashion and dress up. I’m always happy to see a 60-year-old in a cowboy hat. It’s hard to get those people to come to the parties but at the festival, you definitely see some non-ironic cowboy boots. Maybe we need more bourbon at the parties.
I’ve been DJ’ing Jeremy’s [Scott] Coachella parties for maybe five years now. It’s always on Saturday, and it always goes late, so people will come after another party. So I did the Fool’s Gold party until 2 AM, and then I went to Jeremy’s party.
The DJ booth was in this treehouse. Like, we had to climb up and that’s where we took the picture with Jeremy and Aluna [George]. I jumped on a few minutes after that. That might be Sam Smith behind my head, but I’m not sure.
His parties are always fun. I think fun is the best word to describe them. He always brings out a group of people that are eccentric and cool but not to cool for school. Everyone’s dressed loud and it’s really flashy, but everybody likes to get down and dance and enjoy themselves.
Diplo and I DJ’d for about an hour. [We’ve] played together a bunch of times over the years, and especially at these kinds of parties we’ll just kind of jump on and improvise a little thing together. It’s not a regular thing, but over the years it’s happened a bunch. Especially if we show up at a party like that where there’s not an official schedule, we both kind of know how to work together so we just jump on. At one point, we were rapping [Phife Dawg’s] “World Tour.” I mean, Phife is the best.
Sunday: We got an earlier start Sunday afternoon. Right before the festival, I stopped by at this little retreat at Korakia Pensione, and it was cool because it wasn’t hectic. Some of the day parties are just for people day drinking–like, people day drinking a little too much. This was a healthy vibe, where you could get healthy food and lounge. They were even giving out manicures. If I had a little more time I would have gotten a manicure, to be honest. In the photo, I was talking to my friend Jimmy [Giannopoulos] who’s part of the band Lolawolf. It was his birthday.
This is us rolling up to the festival. I wanted to catch Hudson Mohawke and The 1975 and a few more acts. My favorite on Sunday was definitely The 1975. I’m a fan of their new album and like what they’re doing right now. I wasn’t even into their first album. They put out a second album that was a pretty sharp change musically, and I’ve been really into it. It was the first time I’ve seen them live, and I’ve been listening to the album a lot.
Here’s me and my friend Adesuwa [Aighewi], she’s a homie. Coachella’s the kind of thing where you show up and you get texts from some of your friends that just happen to be there, who you don’t even know are going to the festival. I didn’t even know Adesuwa was going to be there, and we ended up hanging out for some of the time. This was at the end of the 1975. It was really hot and the sun was just starting to set. Sunday was definitely the hottest day of the festival.
That’s me watching Major Lazer. That was a fun show because I’ve known Diplo for over ten years. We met at a time when we were both transitioning from being DJs to being DJs who also own a record label, you know? But anyways, that was a great show. That’s my ‘into it’ face. [Laughs] I loved the dancers. They had a bunch of dancers doing choreography throughout almost the whole set. They aren’t an obvious act to put on the main stage because their performance is kind of a patchwork of things. They’re not a traditional band, and they aren’t traditional DJs, either. I think the fact that they added these dancers and choreography, that was the necessary ingredient to glue the whole thing together.
We were just walking through the VIP area, probably trying to get some smoothies or something, and we saw [Milk Studios founder] Rassi. We gave him a little hug and a photo. I think he was just hanging out. It was right after Major Lazer.
I think that honestly the chunk of time that the photos covered was definitely the most fun part of the weekend. Now I’m in LA for the week, working on some music. I actually just got out of a little spa thing. I needed to get the desert sand, gunk out of my face. I feel a lot better now.
Check out A-Trak’s summer tour, kicking off this May in Washington.
All photos shot exclusively for Milk by Koury Angelo.
Stay tuned to Milk for more festival goodness.