Backbeat: Nero, Junkie XL, Andy Grammer, KCRW's Jason Bentley Rock American Music Awards Kickoff EDM Party
Backbeat: Nero, Junkie XL, Andy Grammer, KCRW's Jason Bentley Rock American Music Awards Kickoff EDM Party

Josh Mayer (The Glitch Mob) and PennyBirdRabbit. (Photo: Nicole Pajer)

The electronic dance music community flocked to Club Nokia's swanky VIP lounge last night to kick off AMA weekend. The party was thrown in honor of the genre's recent victory -- electronic dance music being named as a new award category in this year's show. From the red carpet arrivals to inside the soiree, the topic of the evening was the category's three nominees: Skrillex, David Guetta, and Calvin Harris, and the consensus was the winner will be Harris.

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The night kicked off with Andy Grammer, Nokia's official AMA red carpet correspondent, demonstrating his handstand ability in the entryway. Shortly after, we caught up with PennyBirdRabbit who told us she's putting out an EP in the "next month or so," followed by a video, and then will go straight into her new album. While she's known for appearing on Skrillex's "All I Ask of You," Penny told us that she doesn't want to be known as "that feature girl." She also mentioned she's been working with Patrick Nissley (Innerpartysystem). "He's a fantastic producer."

Nina Ruckteschler (SQE Music Management, manages Audrey Napoleon), PennyBirdRabbit, Jeremy Dawson (Shiny Toy Guns). (Photo: Nicole Pajer)

Jeremy Dawson, of Shiny Toy Guns, raved about Penny, telling us that he planned to work with her on a song in the coming weeks. "I just got off the road and am focusing on writing and producing a lot of other people for the next 8 to 9 weeks. And then Santa Claus and the Turkey are coming!"

Palenke Soultribe, who are gearing up to release an album in 2013, told that they couldn't wait to watch the AMAs. "We don't know who is going to win the EDM category but it's going to be tight. They are all big names," said Andres F Erazo.

nero Nero (L to R: Joe Ray, Daniel Stephens, Alana Watson), Harvey Tadman (Three Six Zero Group), Jason Bentley (Music Director KCRW). (Photo: Nicole Pajer)

KCRW Music Director Jason Bentley mentioned that he was "so glad" to see that EDM finally got their own AMA category. "It's a nice gesture -- it's a nice evolution. As you know it's pop now and so I hope that these kinds of things can also help people discover what else is there -- the depth of the music and the scene of the culture. He also said that he believes that Calvin Harris will take the category. "It feels like it's Calvin's time. He's built more of a foundation with the pop world and I feel like American Music Awards is a popular vote and it's a popular show so my money's on Calvin. Skrillex seems like he was sort of last year."

kerli Aldo Davalos (Hypergiant) & Kerli (artist on Island Records). (Photo: Nicole Pajer)

Island Def Jam recording artist Kerli, who has a song out called "The Lucky Ones," was spotted hanging out with Aldo Davalos (Hypergiant). She shared the news that her album would be out in March. "I've also been doing a bunch of stuff on the side with Cole Plante and have a song I'm pushing with this Australian DJ tyDi called "Glow in The Dark." Davalos said that he used to do A&R at Ultra Records but recently started his own company, Hypergiant. "I'm working with a band from Brooklyn called Archie Pelago. I'm also working with a producer duo from Belgium called GoldFFinch that are more on an underground level but are unknown in Berlin and London. I'm trying to establish them here as sort of a star gate -- doing pop producing for R&B and hip hop female vocalists."

Kevin Gimble (Circle Talent Agency) and Lanval Storrod (Maximum Boost Management). (Photo: Nicole Pajer)

Glassnote's Marc Nicolas told us that first off, Calvin Harris will win the EDM category and second that Robert DeLong -- a new artist Glassnote signed in June -- has a new disc coming out in January that's gotten a great response so far. "He's our first EDM artist and is a cross of EDM and alt-rock. It's a fun change of pace," said Nicolas.

We caught up with Nero for a quick chat backstage. The band didn't plan to watch the AMAs, however, were excited to be able to perform at the event in homage to their EDM friends across the pond. Nero's manager, Harvey Tadman (Three Six Zero Group) says the trio is currently in LA working on their next album. "It's a more mature Nero sound and is something we're really looking forward to releasing," said the group's Daniel Stephens.

bar The bartender lining the bar with flashing drinks. (Photo: Nicole Pajer)

Inside the party, attendees were given champagne and Chambord and mysterious blue martinis -- each illuminated with blinking plastic ice cubes. Audrey Napoleon spun tunes the first half of the night and was followed by Nero's live set. To close the evening, 16-year-old Cole Plante took over the tables. Kevin Gimble (Circle Talent Agency) and Lanval Storrod (Maximum Boost Management) took in the show from the bar area, all the while joking about how standing in such a crowded space kept causing them to spill their drinks.

junk Junkie XL and Photek. (Photo: Nicole Pajer)

Also in attendance were Warner/Chappell A&R dude Charlie Amter, Angelo Scrobe (Director of Radio Promotion and Marketing at EMI), Rob Simas (Publisher/Editor at Magnetic Magazine), Morgan Page hanging with his Nettwerk Music girlfriend Hayley Andrus and manager Jared Barboza ( Abbot Monroe), Junkie XL and his manager Michiel Groeneveld ( 3D Management), Nina Ruckteschler ( SQE Music Management) who manages Audrey Napoleon, and Ultra Music DJs Rebecca & Fiona.

morgan (L to R): Kara Jones, Jared Barboza (Morgan Page's manager with Abbot Monroe), Morgan Page, Hayley Andrus (Manager Film & TV with Nettwerk Music Group). (Photo: Nicole Pajer)