Grimes issues apology following Coachella DJ set – what went wrong?

Grimes played a disastrous stop/start DJ set laden with technical issues at Coachella on Saturday. She’s even since apologised for it. So, what happened exactly?

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Image: JC Olivera / Getty

Coming face-to-face with technical issues during a DJ set evokes a drowning sensation. At Coachella, it can only be nightmarish. Technical obstacles are exactly what faced Grimes in front of thousands of people at Coachella festival this weekend, as all of her DJ-related nightmares rolled into one, later forcing her to apologise.

According to Coachella-goers, about 20 minutes into Grimes’ 50-minute DJ set, which took place on Saturday 13 April 2024 at 7.10pm on the Sahara stage, many of her songs played at double speed. This was a result of Rekordbox incorrectly analysing her tracks, identifying, say, a 128bpm song as 256 bpm.

Grimes stopped the set multiple times, letting out shrieks of frustration into the microphone, and explaining the issue to fans. See footage below:

“This is a difficult thing to explain,” she’s seen telling the crowd in separate footage. “We’re having a major technical error where all the song tempos are at double speed. I’ve not practiced the math and I’m not fast at math.”

Grimes is also seen in another video, saying, “All my tracks are twice as fast… Just don’t blame me, it’s not my fault. Well it’s partially my fault, but it’s not entirely my fault.”

The next day, on 14 April, in a since-deleted post to X, the EDM artist apologised to her fans, blaming herself for not noticing the incorrect tempos beforehand and admitting she “had a bad feeling beforehand”.

“To save time this was one of the first times I’ve outsourced essential things like rekordbox bpm’s and letting someone else organise the tracks on the SD card etc,” Grimes, as reported by Mixmag, wrote.

“I want to apologise for the technical issues with the show tonight. I wanted to come back really strong and usually I always handle every aspect of my show myself.

“I had a bad feeling beforehand not having run everything through the CDJs myself and tho I flagged it I wasn’t insistent,” she said.

“I will personally organise all the files next week. I will not let such a thing happen again. I’ve spent months on this show, making music and visuals, and admittedly am not in the best mood at the moment. But, yeah – next week will be flawless, everything will run through my hand.”

All of this drama, of course, has set the EDM community into a frenzy. EDM producer and DJ What So Not, started a thread on X on Sunday, writing that he “feels so bad for her”, making the point that there was no one on hand to help the situation, asking “It’s such a simple thing to fix/solve. Where’s her team at?”

Another commenter writes, “I can’t tell what’s going on. Is it her?… or actual technical issues? Regardless, I am in physical pain watching.”

“Sounds like rekordbox formatting is out so you just have to mix manually by ear”, responds What So Not. ““Mix manually by ear” meaning…. “Mix””, chimes in turntablist, A-Trak.

Grimes is set to DJ again at Coachella Weekend Two, which takes place between 19 and 21 April. Tickets are still available on the Coachella website.


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