In many respects, Lane 8 is an old soul inhabiting a young man's body. Daniel Goldstein — the DJ/producer who records and tours under the moniker — admires the live shows and DJ sets of yore, namely, when the concert experience was devoid of voluntary distractions. Mobile devices, as we've now figured out, can isolate concertgoers and destroy the communal vibe performers try so hard to establish.
Goldstein has worked to fight the always-online tide in recent years through his event series This Never Happened. The premise is simple: Leave the phone alone. In Goldstein's mind, because live experiences should be spontaneous social gatherings where attendees can fully experience the music and forge meaningful friendships with one another, mobile devices are best left in pockets or, better yet, at home. When he last visited Miami for a performance at the Ground, guests were required to place a sticker over their phone's camera lens before entering. Instead of turning around and calling an Uber ride, attendees went inside and had a blast.
Although the American DJ's next show at Club Space on Friday, March 6, will be in support of his third LP, Brightest Lights, the ethos behind This Never Happened will still be in play. The gig, which will mark Lane 8's debut at the downtown Miami venue's famous Terrace space, will once again strive to be a social media–free affair.
As novel as his online-averse approach might seem in 2020, Goldstein doesn't see his terms of engagement with his audience as a gimmick. On the contrary, it's quite sincere.
“That clubbing ideal that you go out and make a bunch of new friends on the dance floor — that’s what made me fall in love with going out and hearing music in the first place!" Goldstein told New Times in February 2018. "So to hear that people are doing that now at my shows — that’s the absolute dream.”
Persuading millennials and drinking-age Gen-Z-ers to stop checking Facebook (or is it now TikTok?) every three seconds might seem challenging, but This Never Happened wound up selling out numerous shows around the world. Goldstein believes playing music is only one aspect of putting on a memorable performance, a perspective he shares with inspirations and fellow dance-floor curators such as Dixon, Âme, and Maceo Plex.
“I think those two things [events and music] go hand-and-hand. As a musician, if you're going to get into events, you need to have music to go with it; that's how I feel with events I went to at least,” Goldstein said during a chat with Sidewalk Talk EDM, a YouTube channel that profiles DJs while the interviewer and interviewee take a stroll around Los Angeles. “There’s a real big connection between events and music — and a very obvious connection between the music I was writing at the time to be played at these events and the events themselves. I was DJ’ing a little bit in college, but I was not a performer. That came with experience.”
Lane 8 came out of the stateside deep-house explosion of the mid-2000s. He shared his music through SoundCloud and eventually caught the ears of the deep-house label Anjunadeep. Goldstein, who was working as a geologist for the government early on in his musical career, quit his job and released his first album, Rise, in 2015.
“I knew if I wanted the whole Lane 8 [experience], I was going to have to spend more time than just evenings after work or a few hours on the weekend [on music],” Goldstein told Sidewalk Talk. Lane 8 is well-versed in the sound of deep house — a subgenre of house music that was pioneered by the likes of Detroit’s Delano Smith and Chicago’s Larry Heard — and has put his own contemporary spin on the vaunted genre.
Despite his expertise in dance music's slower side, Goldstein doesn't shy away from diversifying his musical palate. “My tastes have changed since 2012. I was into disco and classic deep house, but it’s not what interests me now. I think DJs are always looking for that new sound that excites them,” Goldstein told Sidewalk Talks. In keeping with his varied points of reference, Brightest Lights takes listeners on a trip through dance music's many permutations and diverse soundscapes.
The underpinning philosophy of Goldstein's Brightest Lights Tour is about finding the negative energy that exists in our lives — whether it be through the information onslaught of the internet or the exhaustion that emerges from the daily grind — and channeling it into something positive, like a transcendent night spent on a dimly lit dance floor. In the spirit of striving toward a better world, Lane 8 is putting his money where his mouth is: $1 of every ticket sold will go to the nonprofit Plus1, whose mission is to introduce modern medical science to impoverished countries.
Whether you swing by the Terrace for Lane 8's show as a dyed-in-the-wool fan or a curious onlooker, odds are you'll leave with a renewed appreciation for what can happen when you shut up and dance. Just don't get too eager and whip out your phone to document it.