The author of The Underground Is Massive on documenting American rave culture.
By 2011, electronic music was making one of its occasional forays into the American mainstream. While on a bus en route to a Red Bull Music Academy junket in Palm Springs that year, the music journalist Michaelangelo Matos realized he was well placed to document the country's fraught relationship with rave culture. Matos had written profiles, think pieces and music criticism for publications like Rolling Stone, The Atlantic and The Guardian, as well as Resident Advisor. But over the next few years, he threw himself headlong into what would become his first book, The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America, which sees release this week. Over more than 400 pages, Matos draws a zigzagging line from Frankie Knuckles and the Belleville Three to techno-obsessed early internet adopters, Tommie Sunshine's most colorful drug experiences and parties covering nearly every corner of the country. Extensively researched and suffused with Matos's wry humor, it's a dazzling read, plugging holes in a story that's never been told quite like this. Jordan Rothlein met Matos at his publisher's offices in Manhattan recently to hear how it came together.