Peace. Love. Unity. Respect.
If you turn on the news, you will seldom find those themes anymore. Hate, greed, and utter nonsense drive the headlines in 2016. Music is a way to escape this reality, and EDM is the ultimate genre for those who crave escapism. It’s electric, has few lyrics and physical instruments – it’s more about the sound, the feeling, and the unified environment. Looking at it from the outside, it can look like a dangerous mosh pit of sex, drugs, and no rock and roll – a possible utter waste of time. But those involved will tell you it’s not always about the music but about being a part of something bigger than yourself.
That was one of of the taglines in the trailer for XOXO: being a part of something bigger than yourself. XOXO stars Modern Family sweetheart Sarah Hyland and The Good Wife’s Graham Phillips in a surprisingly epic and memorable film available to stream now on Netflix.
XOXO takes us along five parallel stories, all of which center around Krystal (Hyland) finding love and Ethan (Phillips) getting the opportunity of a lifetime to debut and DJ his music at a popular rave. The characters are loveable, the fashion and makeup are spot-on, and the story is filmed and written in such a way with no predisposition towards any judgement – almost like a romantic comedy meets documentary so you can make your own conclusion about the rave lifestyle.
At the XOXO press day, we learn lots of fun tidbits of information. Phillips DJ’d at Princeton but is overall drawn to the more symphonic vibe of EDM. With a musical theatre background, it only makes sense he prefers real instruments. He also used most of his own equipment in the film, making it easier for him to perform in the tiny time slots they were allotted to film at real festivals.
It’s true. None of the festival scenes were staged. They filmed at real festivals…and it’s as difficult as you think it would be.
“People would be thinking that it was the after video we were shooting, get in the camera, and be like ‘Woo!” I love festival XYZ!’ and I’d just be trying to continue to be Ethan while people were blocking the entire shot,”Phillips says. “That was a little frustrating. But being at the festival was amazing for us. How else can you simulate that energy if we somehow could have replicated that? The funniest 180 was when we would tell people who were acting so drugged out right in the camera, going all out, we’d say ‘We’re trying to film something’ and then they’d be like ‘Ooh ooh, I’m so sorry!’”
But Hyland, who is more of a fan of people-watching, really enjoyed filming on location. “I think it was really worth it. As soon as you would say something to [the ravers], they were really respectful. They were just trying to have a good time and…they were! It was annoying when we really had to do something in a certain amount of time, but some of them were really respectful.”