Interview: “It’s a place to escape to…” Lee Burridge reflects on ten years of All Day I Dream

Lee Burridge has been carving a niche for upfront, uplifting house music for around three decades now, with plenty of landmarks along the way – his partnership with Craig Richards as Tyrant, the global 365 residency tour, and bringing electronic music to both Hong Kong’s club scene and Thailand’s infamous Full Moon parties.

Since 2011, Burridge has been the curator of All Day Is Dream, an ambitious concept combining a record label and a series of bespoke parties that seek to spread positive vibes around the world. This year marks the tenth anniversary of All Day Is Dream, or ADID, for short, and while the pandemic has put events on ice for the moment – notwithstanding the ‘All Day I Stream‘ livestream series – it’s still a momentous landmark for the brand.

Last year, Burridge put out what was remarkably his debut album, Melt, and he’s followed that up with a new EP, Leee, which was released earlier this month and features the tracks A Hymn For Your Dreams, Diving Bell, Satellite Girl, as well as a Tim Green remix of the latter. You can purchase it by clicking here.

909originals caught up with him.

Hi Lee, thanks for talking to us. Let’s start with the Leee EP – what sort of vibe are you going for?

Hey you…thanks for having me. The new EP leans into the more romantic and prettier end of house music. Emotive vibes but still with a groove. It’s subtle, but there’s still a range to the EP.

I always loved the music that makes you close your eyes and allows your mind to wander. I guess it’s why I use warm, friendly sounds rather than abrasive ones. It’s music to fall in love to. 

Where did the vocal sample about “four cockroaches playing poker on your lap”, as featured in A Hymn For Your Dreams, come from? It’s not one we’ve heard before!

We recorded it live at one of the ADID annual strip poker tournaments. [Nice try Lee – Ed]

We’re coming up to the tenth anniversary of All Day I Dream this summer, although it looks like the celebrations might not be what you had in mind. What do you have planned?

I’ve never really been one for celebrating landmarks but after speaking to a few people it kind of dawned on me that ADID really set in motion a little corner of dance music that’s spread out globally and inspired many other brands and artists.

I actually didn’t think about it, as I’m always trying to continue to grow and reach more fans as well as supporting emerging artists. Even if the apocalypse hadn’t happened the past year I don’t think I’d have milked the ten-year thing.

So, in answer to your question I might celebrate by baking a cloud-shaped cake and pop ten candles on it. Then, of course, plaster it all over social media and put my DJ fee up by ten times. Or, just blow out the candles and feel proud of where it’s gotten to.

Every successful concept has to start somewhere – in the case of All Day I Dream, that was back in the late 2000s. What was the thinking behind the brand at its inception?

I saw a lot of things missing at events in the mid-2000s and wanted to create something to rebalance that and that they might go on to inspire others to follow suit.

For me, it was about investing in the experience. Giving more to people than a DJ standing between a stack of speakers in a warehouse. The thing that was most notably missing at parties were girls, so I set out to build a brand that was specifically aimed at them. One that felt more feminine; from the music to the decor.

I also wanted to bring emotion and melody back into the music without it being too overdramatic or cheesy. It had been all about minimal for years or other music that was banging and abrasive – by the way I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It just wasn’t for me.

I wanted to bring beautiful elements into events and use natural elements for decor rather than metal trussing and intense lights to create an atmosphere in places like New York where the city itself is already a hard surface or more brutal in feel. All Day I Dream was the counterbalance to that in my mind. It’s a place to escape to. 

When we spoke to you last year, one of the things you mentioned about ADID was how “the music is important, but the people are more important.” In what ways have the people going to your parties influenced where you have taken the brand?

Each person makes the events just that little bit better. I feel they’ve become a community rather than just a bunch of strangers turning up to dance. You can really feel it when you walk into the events. There’s a synergy and shared experience happening, and I always walk around or go dance and be a part of that feeling.

This lingers with me and keeps me in touch with how it actually feels to experience the party. I listen as well, when people share their experiences. This pushes me to continue to work on the aesthetic or who I might bring to play. 

Have you had a game plan in mind when it comes to developing ADID, or has it been a case of ‘let’s enjoy the ride and see where it takes us’?

At times it’s important to let it evolve where it takes itself, but many times I work on the vision or the next incarnation. I think it’s easy to become lazy or complacent when things are working. It’s never really been like that.

I guess the first few years the game plan was to stay under the radar and let word of mouth and the quality of the experience and vibe of the music build what I imagined. This worked out beautifully, and many of those who attended still come to the events and support me today.

I was never about a quick buck. I feel the motivation dictates the feeling. I started out with the following intention that still holds true today – I want to make people smile. 

You’ve been all around the world with ADID – were there any hairy moments along the way? As in, were you stuck somewhere (or caught up in some local issues) on any of your travels?

Luckily for me, but uninterestingly for this answer, no. I think our decor got stuck in Russian customs once but that’s about as crazy as it’s gotten. 

I read somewhere that the ADID parties have inspired a few romances and proposals – any particular memories stand out?

To date, over sixty people have told me they met their partner at ADID and then were married. That’s so beautiful to me. As I said earlier, it was always about building a community for me. This is literally a dream come true, to have played some role in bringing like-minded people together.

We’ve had two actual proposals in the DJ booth. I always wonder if that story will stand the test of time and still feel romantic when they are in their twilight years, ha ha.

Burridge: “I started out with the following intention that still holds true today – I want to make people smile.”

Are you pleased with how the All Day I Stream series has gone? Do you think it has introduced more people to your music, which may not have been aware of you before?

Absolutely. It’s also formed a weekly community of people from all over the world who join us each and every week. We’ve done it a little differently to some. We keep the streams online for a week after for people to either watch or rewatch at their leisure, which gives less impetus to some to be there live each Sunday but as many of the artists are also on there every week it’s really fun to chat to and joke and have fun with people tuning in from Kazakhstan, India, Europe, Alaska, the USA and beyond.

I think it’s been comforting for people who have been cut off since the pandemic started from the music community and listening to new music. The music itself either ends or starts the week in a very positive and beautiful way. 

One of the positive things about ADID has been its ability to ‘unite people on the dancefloor’, which obviously hasn’t been the case over the past year or so. For you personally, as a positive individual, how have you sought to keep those positive vibes flowing?

I’ve never forgotten that what I do is a gift. This lifestyle allowed me to travel, meet many different people and have fun. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to stay afloat during these times.

I’m never short on positive vibes and figured other people might be so simply focussed on All Day I Stream as a vehicle to share them while also continuing the labels.

I feel lucky to wake up and feel healthy. To be able to walk around and enjoy things like staying at my parents’ house for an extended period of time that, otherwise, wouldn’t have happened due to work and travel. I know life can be and is super tough for many people at present but I’m always trying to just find the beauty in things if I can.

For me, it’s all about where you put your thoughts. I admit I’ve not been constantly positive and have also struggled with things at times but it’s about understanding things will change again each day or week or month. 

Has it been a productive time for you?

It’s a rollercoaster. It’s also been me attached to a couch binge-watching Netflix and drinking Mexican cokes. Other times, I couldn’t stop the ideas coming out of me. 

What sort of scene will emerge once the pandemic blows over? What will have changed, and what will stay the same?

The ‘Roaring Twenties’ part two I believe. We are all going to have to adapt in some ways, in the short term – rapid testing, masks, etc but out the other side, I think people are going to want to go back to feeling a togetherness.

When the Spanish flu decimated the world a hundred years ago I’m sure there was a lot of fear about what the future held but, here we are with the most people on the planet ever, and look how the world had become. 

Last question – it’s your first ADID party after the pandemic… what tune do you put on to unite the crowd?

Bob Marley’s Is This Love – edit by myself and DSF. Or Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police if I’m trying to be ironic. 🙂

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