Give Me Sad Techno: Tourist Hosts Brooklyn’s Best Melancholy Dance Party


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I first heard of Tourist in 2013. I had come across the track “Your Girl” and was instantly obsessed. The vocal sampling, the overall vibe of longing and loss. I probably hit replay on that track hundreds of times, and now it serves as the soundtrack of nostalgia for my life in Astoria, Queens.

Naturally, “Your Girl” lead me to discover the artist that is Tourist. I became deeply intimate with his EPs Tonight (2013) and Tourist (2012). At the time the London-based songwriter and producer was relatively unknown, but enigmatic none-the-less. His brand of Sad Techno (his term, not mine) has always felt like a lost memory. Something that feels almost familiar while feeling entirely new.

It has been with joy that I’ve watched the much-deserved meteoric rise of William Phillips (AKA Tourist). His latest album, “Everyday” is filled with the same melancholy memories that Tourist has become known for, but years of practice have resulted in a refined, polished sound. “Everyday” is proof that you will know a Tourist track when you hear one. While I still love his early work, you can tell that with each new track and new album, we’re getting an improved sound. A fresh take on something fresh to begin with.

Tourist recently took “Everyday” on the road, where I was able to catch him at King’s Hall in Brooklyn. His newest album is more atmospheric than the rest – one that feels deeply personal to the artist. The show felt much of the same. Despite a nearly packed venue, Tourist was able to take the crowd to a place of quiet that felt innately intimate. It was a slower approach, one that felt in direct opposition to the status quo of electronic shows these days. This is truly a feat considering Tourist’s sold-out status across much of the U.S., but a feature I consider synonymous with Tourist’s music and his live shows.

 Tourist Kings Hall Brooklyn

Everyone was grooving to Sad Techno. While some tracks may feel a little more upbeat, the sentiment reminds me of the Wombats song “Let’s Dance to Joy Division,” because there’s such a sweet irony in dancing happily to sad songs. They bring us together, they break down walls, and the collective catharsis at King’s Hall was one for the books.

While Tourist is still on the road touring with “Everyday,” us Brooklynites are now just left with a memory. Just as sweet, and just as gloomy, as his music. When can we expect more? How long can we live with the memory of February 23rd? For now, I’ll keep “Love Theme” (my fav track off of “Everyday”) on repeat and daydream about what has been, and more importantly, what’s next.

Thanks for the music, William.