11 emerging artists you need to hear this March
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From uplifting house and beguiling synths to thunderous techno, here's March’s 2019's list of next-gen talent you need to know...
Stratford’s Chloëdees has been collecting records since her mid- teens, but also film soundtracks. Before then, aged around nine, she already had an interest in making her own compilations by taping her favourite house and garage DJs off the radio, and had grown up around her mum’s friends who used to run sound systems. She showed off her vast reserves of cinematic music on a recent NTS special to kick off the year, and it went from dramatic orchestral scores to James Bond title music to Julie Andrews classics. The rest of her shows traverse a broad spectrum: Jay Z to Fatima, the jazz of Matthew Halsall to the disco of Chaka Khan, and have helped her become a firm fixture at various small and cultured gatherings round London, where she is based, so catch her when you can.
Tom Ruijg AKA Tracey’s sound is one that’s been reaching far-fetched cities outside of his hometown, Amsterdam. Fusing fast-paced drum sequences with intricate polyrhythmic melodies, his records create dancefloor momentum while still holding an air of atmosphere and space, gravitated by sparse and impactful kick drums. His debut album — forthcoming on Lawrence’s inimitable label Dial — delves even further into experimentation of tempos, moods and elaborate synthesis. His earliest work on Voyage Direct pricked the ears of both Midland and Will Saul, with subsequent EPs on their labels Intergraded and Aus Music. Last October he joined Jeff Mills, Nina Kraviz and Floorplan at DGTL Festival, and is already prevalent across the Netherlands with forthcoming appearances at Awakenings, Welcome To The Future and DGTL’s April foray at NDSM Docklands. With recent gigs including Hamburg and Berlin, we’re certain you’ll be hearing plenty more of Tracey this year.
Detroit born-and-raised, Ariel Catalina, better known as DJ Holographic, has recently been wowing audiences on The Black Madonna’s We Still Believe tour across America. Celebrated for her seamless mixing and incredible selection, blending funky beats with groovy house and hands-in-the-air disco, DJ Holographic is continuing the dance music legacy of the Motor City with panache. Though the self-described one-woman funk-machine isn’t exactly a newcomer, having played Movement Detroit 2018, and venues like Good Room, Output and Smartbar, she’s blowing up in key cities across America and beyond, and recently delivered a soulful, energised mix for DJ Mag’s Fresh Kicks which you can check out along with an interview here.
Lauren Hansom is one of the many deep-digging music lovers who have been brought to international attention thanks to guest spots with online radio stations. Red Light, Worldwide FM and NTS are chief amongst those, and in turn her impressively broad selections — which are always pleasantly surprising and storytelling in nature — have led to gigs at cultured spots like Brilliant Corners. The situation very much dictates what the Aussie will play: she can do two hours of celestial ambiance and weird beats from all corners of the globe, or she can slowly but smartly build tension on a dancefloor with wiry electronic grooves, wave, beguiling house and unlikely synth music. Next to this, she works as the “right hand” of Medhi El-Aquil on his range of beautifully bespoke Condesa rotary mixers. You can be sure you’ll hear plenty more from her as 2019 progresses.
Though Berlin-based production and live project GHEIST began just three years ago, its rise since has been dramatic — though not unexpected. Founded in early 2016, the German quartet quickly grabbed the attention of peers and fans alike with their hybrid sets and live shows. Mixing live band vibes with an energetic DJ set experience, their prowess on stage has taken them to venues like Watergate, Fuse Brussels and Egg London. GHEIST — meaning “ghost” in German — have also become revered for their euphoric-meets-melancholic sound. Blending progressive with melodic house and techno, their productions have landed on tastemaking imprints like Sasha’s Last Night On Earth, Mobilee and Exploited. Their latest single, ‘Monaco F.’, which came out on their own Radau imprint in February, is an illustrious example of their signature sound — deep and melodic house with a groovy twist.
What does a software developer have to do to join the ranks of Dirtybird Records’ top house players? Submit track demos to label master Claude VonStroke, until one gets deemed “the biggest record” of his set during Miami Music Week. That’s exactly what happened to Steve Darko last year, and today he’s a household name on the label. Last May, he made his Dirtybird debut with the two-track EP, ‘Fried Or Fertilized’, and has shown no signs of slowing down, releasing another EP, ‘Firecracker’, on the same label this January. Though new to the DB flock, the bearded, Boston-based producer had a string of previous releases on Audiophile XXL, Box Of Cats and Perfect Driver. Many of Steve’s tracks are discerned by twangy, bouncy breaks and deep male vocals, often provided by Uncle Kev. As he gains more DJing experience touring alongside Claude, you can expect to see him on festival line-ups throughout 2019.
Formerly one half of The M Machine, Ben Swardlick is back with a new project that elevates all the best parts of his previous work. Melodic, bouncy and drenched in nostalgia, ‘Here On My Own’ just might be the most delightful release of 2017 that you never heard (though boundary pushing producers such as Porter Robinson and Ryan Hemsworth both gave it their ardent support). “I’ve been called Swardy my whole life, or as long as I can remember anyway,” he tells DJ Mag. “When I started hatching a plan to release solo music, I kept that in mind, because I need this to be a project that grows and evolves as I do. As long as the music reflects my experience and sensibility, then I’ve done my job.” He is set to release a second EP in April via Mat Zo’s emerging label, Mad Zoo, featuring music he began composing while living in Medellin.
When a mysterious phone number appeared on posters across major North American cities late last year, little did electro-pop enthusiasts know that their SoundCloud playlists were about to get a lot more groovy. To date, there’s still little information regarding just who is behind the multimedia art and music project known as ilo ilo, but call 808-202-2690, and you’ll get some hints. Despite the elusive nature of their guerrilla marketing campaigns, Ilo Ilo’s funky basslines and androgynous vocals have generated a receptive fanbase, ever since their debut single ‘Wait’ appeared on numerous Spotify playlists last May. In January, the duo gave their first live performance aboard Holy Ship!, a cruise ship-based music festival. Perhaps 2019 will be the year we learn their true identities, or maybe, that intentional disconnection is what makes their sound that much sweeter.
It’s hard to believe Los Angeles-based duo No Etiquette launched their project only one year ago. They’ve already whipped up a huge amount of buzz with their industrial, dark, heavy and intensely electronic take on bass music — combining elements of electro, hard-edged dubstep, and a twist of techno — which has landed with a massive bang in the rapidly growing ‘mid-tempo’ scene. They first caught the world’s attention with their track ‘Spiders’, produced with Tommie Sunshine, and 2018 also saw the release of their epic seven-track ‘Blood Moon’ EP on Synesthesia Records, which featured their hit single, ‘Traveler’. In 2019, they’ve already released their apocalyptic mid-tempo collaboration with Lick, ‘Man Kind’, on Zeds Dead’s Deadbeats imprint, and branched out into house with ‘Switch’, produced with Shifty Rhythms founder, Neo Fresco. The future looks mighty bright for these innovators.
Originally from Sydney, for the past 20 years Christian Barbuto has resided in Austin, Texas, where he’s steadily made a name for himself with groove-centric techno and tech-house. He’s landed on labels such as Octopus Recordings, Tronic, OFF, Unity and Transmit over the years. It was on Sian’s Octopus where Barbuto first broke through with his single ‘Major Arcana’, followed by 2016’s Enrico Sangiuliano remix of ‘Vantablack’. Barbuto’s knack for crowd-pleasing weapons also paved the way for remixes by heavy-hitters like Spektre, Black Asteroid and Loco & Jam, and the man himself has been remixed by Hollen, Filterheadz, Rafaelle Rizzi, Riot’s Frankyeffe, Kostas Maskalides and Fatima Hajji for her Silver M label, to name a few. On stage, he’s equally impressive, captivating crowds with infectious beats and some of the most explosive drops in techno.
MARK THE BEAST
Rising quite literally from the depths of one of the world’s most iconic venues, Mark The Beast is now a staple in the bass music scene. Frequently playing Webster Hall BASSment Saturdays just a few years ago, he’s rapidly made a name for himself on several prominent labels including Circus Records, Disciple Records and UKF, and with his breakthrough track, ‘In Love With The Devil’. In 2018 he made the inevitable cross-coast move from New York to Los Angeles, where his career absolutely exploded, and for good reason. From his earlier releases like ‘Breathe’ to his newest d&b track ‘Night Fall’ with Nitepunk and veteran drummer KJ Sawka, his productions have always hit hard, with gritty basslines, impeccable sound design and intoxicating vocals, like in ‘See You’ featuring Charmae. Mark The Beast is proof that dubstep is not dead, turning skeptics into bass heads one drop at a time.
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