Chris Richards, the longtime manager of electronic music artists who's one of the creative minds behind Balloon Pop, says the team at Future Archive Recordings, where he's also the label manager, was discussing "how we can curate events where we could present and debut new creative projects and more experimental art, alongside staple names and larger artists who inspire us," he says.
The result is a sort of underground rave on wheels that will launch in San Francisco tonight, Thursday, September 19, hit Cervantes' in Denver on Friday, September 20, and head to Austin on Saturday, September 21.
Richards is not only deeply involved with Future Archive, but he also founded booking agency and management firm Autonomous Music, where he represented artists such as Emancipator, Wax Tailor, Quantic, Ott, Polish Ambassador, Papadosio and others. So he had a large pool of talent to draw from when booking the Balloon Pop lineup, which he describes as "a solid mix of instrumental hip-hop legends, like Wax Tailor and Blockhead, indie-leaning experimental electronic staples like Little People and Arms and Sleepers, queer experimental acts like Natasha Kmeto and CNJR, and Ninja Tune favorite Yppah.
"It's a really great exploration of where downtempo electronic overlaps with IDM, indie and left-field music," he adds. "This is an electronic show, but not necessarily a bass show or an EDM party, which are ever more and more present these days, so hopefully it's a refreshing experience for fans of electronic music."
Richards also notes that Future Archive put a lot of thought into the overall vibe of the event; it was important to build an open, inclusive, supportive space where musicians, artists and attendees find inspiration and explore big ideas.
And the label has plans for the future.
"Artistically, we are really excited to expand with installations, interactive experiences and technology," he says. "The idea is that over time, the events will grow in size and be able to support more and more creative and unique options for fans to experience."
In fact, there are already plans to bring Balloon Pop into 2020 as a true event series.
"We have a massive lineup to announce very soon," Richards hints. "I can't whisper about who just yet, but I can say that we will be returning to Denver and Austin, and that the lineup involves a crew of artists that fans are going to be pumped to see all in one show."
Balloon Pop arrives at 8 p.m. Friday, September 20, at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom and the Other Side. Learn more and listen to an artist playlist at facebook.com/balloonpopevents, then purchase tickets — $20 in advance at the Cervantes' website or $25 day of show.