A Conversation with Producer John Nathaniel
As an award-winning producer, songwriter, and mixer, John Nathaniel is a master of blending acoustic, electronic, and orchestral elements into his productions to create seamless cohesion. Hailing from Montreal, Canada, John has worked with an impressive list of artists, including Kygo, OneRepublic, Gwen Stefani, and Switchfoot, to name a few. John’s work with OneRepublic was recently featured on Disney+’s Clouds and the major motion picture Top Gun: Maverick. BMI had the opportunity to chat with John about his production process and take a look inside his studio.
You’re something of a studio gear enthusiast. What are some of your favorite synths or VSTs, and how do you like to incorporate them into your productions?
I get excited with “new toys” and I get inspired by certain pieces of gear. An instrument you want to play, digital or hardware is something that channels creativity.
I’m a big fan of synths, even in more organic records, I’ll have some subtle synth work going on because they add such richness and depth.
I have a Prophet 6 that just sounds incredible and it’s so versatile and easy to operate. I can use it seamlessly in different styles. My Moog SUB 37 is also a go-to whenever I need a deep sub bass! I have tons of VSTs and after all these years, I’m still in love with Omnisphere! Serum is also great, because it’s so intuitive.
Arturia has got some sick synths, as well. I often find myself loading the Jun-6 V for that classic tone. Their Mellotron is also incredible!
I often do pads and add some movement to them, so they have a rhythmic role on top of occupying space.
When it comes to creating sequences, I can do it analog or digital, depending on the tone I want. I often find myself programming more complex sequences in logic, then sending it to my Prophet 6.
What is one piece of equipment in your studio that you think every producer should have? What’s one that you think isn’t necessarily needed but the most enjoyable?
Everyone is so different, but for me, I’d say that having a larger keyboard (more than 2 octaves), ideally 4 or more, allows you to write and think in a larger scale when you’re composing and coming up with ideas. I have this tiny keyboard that I carry with me whenever I’m on the road and I now realize how it can get in the way of getting ideas down quicker. In my setup, I’ve got a 88 keys to my left, to play piano parts, my Prophet, my SUB 37 (both also on my left), but right in front of me, on my desk, I have a 4 octave keyboard to play soft synths or pads.
As far as something not necessary, but pretty cool is a macro controller. My wife recently gifted me a Monogram and I’ve programmed shortcuts in it. I’ve programmed it to work in orchestral sessions, but also in synth sessions where I can control the ADSR/filters of synths with it. It allows me to shape tones much faster and makes my VSTs feel like I’m on my Prophet 6 fiddling around.
Also, having an expression controller changed the game for me. I automate as I play and inject more life into the parts in real time. I now have a few!
When entering a session with another artist or writer, do you like to use productions that are already partially built out as a starting point, or do you like to start completely from scratch?
I sometimes have intros and instrumental starts that I’ve started prior to a session, but more often I start from scratch, as I love to tailor something for and with the artist. I love to dig in with artists and I’m not afraid to spend more time chasing something that’s more X factor. I’m also always looking for new collaborators and excited to work with new talent.
What’s your favorite part of the songwriting/production process? The concept, building out the sounds, mixing, the release rollout? Has your outlook changed over time?
My favorite part is when the song is starting to come to life and starts feeling like a record. There’s something magical about that moment when you play that chorus and you “get the feels”! Whether I’m in a mix or arrangement session, it’s always about contrast and controlling energy. Over time, I try to simplify things. As I get older as a producer and mixer, I tend to want to subtract instead of adding and layering so much. Taking a bit more time to craft some intriguing tones, thinking of voicing things in a complementary way, having the right space for elements to co-exist, etc.
You seem to do everything in the studio – Songwriter, Producer, Mix Engineer, etc. Is the any one role that you seem to enjoy more than the others? If so, why?
I enjoy and cherish every step. I don’t think I could pick one above the others. It’s all different and similar, in a way that you’re trying to build a record that sounds and feels great. Funny thing is I always lean on my songwriter/composer skill to understand what the record is trying to achieve, in terms of energy, arrangement or lyrically, even if I’m only mixing. The lyric and vocal performance will often dictate the energy of a mix for me.
How do you know when a song or mix is done? Do you have a system you’ve developed for knowing when something is locked, or is it a unique judgement call every time?
It’s always a matter of feel. I get it to a point where it feels amazing to me, then the artist/label and I go through revisions. Once we have addressed everyone’s notes, I’ll do a last scope on my end, where I usually polish the edges and then we’re done! As a producer or/and mixer, I go deep in nuances and I get very detailed, but I’m also good at letting go. You can go in a million different ways and start fine tuning elements for a while, but the big picture is what matters most. One thing you learn as an artist, producer, mixer or engineer, and I’ll quote a great YouTube artist here called Venus Theory, is that: “Finished is always better than perfect, because perfect is never finished.”
Listening through your productions, it’s hard not to notice your versatility. Musically, does the writing/production process stay the same whether working with a Dance artist like Kygo or a rop/rock band like OneRepublic, or is it necessary to approach each genre and artist differently?
Thank you! Things are always similar yet different with everyone. I always try to adapt to the artist I’m working with, but I’m still me, regardless of the genre. I have a certain taste for melodies, lyrics, chord progressions, types of voicings… It’s why collaborating with different people is amazing, you get to expand your colors by blending them with someone else’s.
One of the questions we often receive from songwriters/producers is “How do I get in the room with bigger artists?” Given you’ve worked with some incredible artists over the years, how did you manage to cultivate and maintain these relationships?
I have to credit my manager, Mariane, for getting me in rooms with the right people at the right time. As for sustaining relationships, you have to show up and give your love, passion and dedication to projects you choose to do. People will notice if you’re motivated and if you’re really present. Word of mouth is really powerful!
Also, surrounding yourself with people with good values, that respect and cherish their collaborators is very important.
It’s always interesting to look at music documentaries from back in the day and see how producers used to work in the studio. Do you ever wish you were around in a different musical era, or are you happy to exist in the present, with all the amazing studio technology at our fingertips?
I wouldn’t drive a DeLorean at 88 mph! I like the era we’re in for creation and simplicity of the process. However, I’m a sucker for old music. There’s so much richness and bad ass musicians on old records and the sonics were iconic too! I constantly listen to older records, whether it’s Jazz, Motown, RNB or Pop! I’m also a massive fan of Classical music, hence why I often lean on string arrangements when I need to add emotion to records.
We noticed your recent release with OneRepublic, “I Ain’t Worried,” was added to the soundtrack of the new movie Top Gun: Maverick. Congratulations! Did you make it out to theaters to see the movie live? If so, how did it feel to hear your music in the film?
Thank you so much! I’m very excited about that record doing so well! I’ve seen the film recently and it’s glorious! It’s action packed and epic and the story is great! I am also very proud of OneRepublic for this achievement, this movie is iconic! Grateful to be a part of it.
You recently worked on the upcoming musical Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile with Shawn Mendes. How was this experience different from your other projects?
I was happy to have the opportunity to work on a musical as it’s very different from what I usually work on. There were a lot of pop elements in the songs, but the tempo variations (there’s a wild tempo map in both songs) and certain chord voicings made things a bit more theatrical than pop. Having a classical background, I was familiar with that. I also got to work with really wonderful and talented people and got to see the songs come to life with a real orchestra!
If you were to look at your theoretical music-career bucket list, what are some items at the bottom that aren’t crossed off just yet?
Funny you ask! I’ve started a project called Son Symphony, and I’m working on orchestral/ classical based compositions. I’m a huge fan of the thriller, mystery and horror genre and having a composition be the theme of a show that I love would definitely be bucket list material!
What’s one piece of wisdom you would give to the upcoming songwriters, producers and mixers?
I’d say be kind to others and be respectful. Value professionalism, loyalty and protect your mental health. Your mental state matters and will affect everything and everyone around you.
Also, find the right entourage; it’s so important to let the right people in your life and learn to stay away from the toxic ones!
Raye - “Black Mascara”
Spinning a captivating lyric about love and betrayal, UK singer/songwriter and 2019 BMI Impact Award-winner Raye returns with a new single that combines melancholy subject matter with a pumping bassline and propulsive drums. The end results work as seamlessly on a crowded dancefloor as they do within the intimacy of a pair of headphones.
PinkPantheress with Sam Gellaitry - “Picture In My Mind”
Sam Gellaitry joins forces with UK dance superstar PinkPantheress for a debut collaboration. PinkPantheress lends her sweet, airy vocals to Sam’s club-pumping beats and groovy bassline. The Scottish producer’s synesthesia (a condition that allows the person to experience music as a color or shape) informs his creative process and storytelling, augmenting this breezy, end-of-summer track with a rich bed of sound beneath irrepressible rhythms.
ILLENIUM with Teddy Swims - “All That Really Matters”
Teddy Swims was already having a high-profile year, after performing on a series of major talk shows alongside pop singer Meghan Trainor. But his collaboration with Denver super-producer ILLENIUM has really capped off his 2022 with a swirling, emotive track that features a hopeful, uplifting message. Swelling with masterful production throughout the verses, the track builds to an incredible drop with an explosion of synths and beats that are as powerful as the song’s expansive, unifying theme.
Lena Leon - “Spiral”
Having already contributed to records by some of the biggest dance artists in the world, singer/songwriter Lena Leon has unleashed her debut solo single, “Spiral.” Over punchy, futuristic synths and driving drums, Lena’s haunting voice unveils a hypnotic melody, cementing her status as one of the preeminent, go-to singer/songwriters in the dance world.
JADED - “Can You Feel It”
After only a few short pandemic years, Diplo’s house music label, Higher Ground, is already a towering force to be reckoned with. Higher Ground’s recent release “Can You Feel It” by London-based DJ/Producer trio, JADED, is certainly helping to keep the bar high. The track features funky syncopated keys, insistent drums, and soaring, soulful vocals. Augmented with laser blasts and some surprising brass flourishes, dancefloor denizens will certainly be feeling it.
KREAM, Jake Tarry - “Once Again”
Norwegian liquid house duo, KREAM, team up with UK-born, Amsterdam-based rising star, Jake Tarry, to rework the classic A Tribe Called Quest Tune, “Once Again.” Released via Tiesto’s Music Freedom imprint, the track features blistering hi-hats and chunky drums which blare over a sample of the hip-hop classic, reintroducing it to a new generation of discerning club-goers.
Kx5 feat. Hayla - “Escape”
Since their first collaboration in 2008, mega-dance artists and pioneers Deadmau5 and Kaskade join forces to form Kx5. “Escape,” their debut single released under this new duo name, features vocals by UK singer songwriter Hayla, who brings a haunting feel to the trance-like melody. Deadmau5 and Kaskade showcase their own unique styles to set the landscape for the track. Futuristic synths float over a pulsing stream of steady beats, while a thumping bass propels the listener for a truly ethereal escape.
Franky Wah and AR/CO - “Under the Sun”
Hailing from the other side of the pond, UK artist and DJ Franky Wah joins rising dance/electro newcomers AR/CO. Leo Stannard and Mali Koa, who make up AR/CO, are steadily establishing their own signature style, which can be heard on “Under the Sun,” the third release under this collaborative project. The vocals are layered to mimic an echoed choir, while Franky Wah sets the big room vibe with his laser-like production, creating an almost post-apocalyptic atmosphere. Although this collaboration feels seamless, each of the contributors add their own distinctive flare.
3LAU, CXLOE – “Worst Case”
Multi-faceted NYC-based producer 3LAU showcases his deep-house chops on this collaboration with the Sydney-based artist, CXLOE, who gets to flex her electronic side beneath her ethereal vocals. The ends results are a poweful combination, highlighting both 3LAU’s hypnotically bouncy production style with CXLOE’s flair for emotionally charged pop. Expect to hear this track on the main stage festival circuit for years to come.
Devault, Bipolar Sunshine – “Don’t Be Alarmed”
Three years after their 2018 collaboration, “Stay,” DEVAULT (a.k.a. Sage Devault) aligns once again with ascendant UK singer/songwriter Bipolar Sunshine (a.k.a. Adio Marchant) for this infectious amalgam of techno, funk and acid. Bipolar Sunshine’s swaggeringly cool vocals cut right through DEVAULT’s insistent bass, beats and synths until the track breaks open into a lushly widescreen, melodic dancefloor anthem.
ZHU feat. John The Blind – “Monster”
Giants of their genres, GRAMMY-nominated EDM producer ZHU and top-charting pop songwriter John The Blind (who has penned hits for One Direction through Pitbull) join forces for a single that transcends their respective categories, pairing a soulfully swooning lyrical narrative with the mysterious producer’s propulsive, deep-house production. A landmark recording for 2021.
Celeste X MK – “Stop This Flame”
Re-wiring Celeste’s infectious 2020 single “Stop This Flame” as a boisterous Chicago House workout, Detroit-born/L.A.-based producer MK retains the original song’s soulful assertiveness while giving it some serious dancefloor horsepower and some trancey synths that let the track periodically take flight.
Duke Dumont, Channel Tres – “Alter Ego”
This newest collaboration from house-music titans Duke Dumont and Channel Tres blends influences of house, acid and techno into a fusion that’s both infectiously funky and dryly funny. Featuring vibey vocals and a laid-back, witty narrative from Tres, “Alter Ego” is a journey with a pumping bass line that perfectly captures the rhythms and atmosphere of the club experience.
WizG feat. Jantine – “Forget Me Not”
With huge, emotional choruses and heavy drums, this latest collab between L.A.-based producer WizG and Billboard #1 singer/songwriter Jantine perfectly pairs future-bass stylized production with a sweeping, heartfelt melody that tells the story of star-crossed romance. Released via Thrive Music, this single is the third collaboration between these two, following “When I Didn’t Know” and “Never Be The Same,” and it continues their streak.
Surf Mesa feat. Bipolar Sunshine – “Lose My Mind”
After his breakout hit in 2019 with “ily (I love you baby) (feat. Emilee),” Surf Mesa teams up with British singer/songwriter Bipolar Sunshine for this new single. Surf Mesa’s signature production bounces beneath the light, airy vocals, underscoring the track’s sunny mood and swooning sentiments of love soaring over the driving four-on-the-floor tempo.
Park Hye Jin – “Whatchu Doin Later”
Specializing in trap beats and catchy keyboards, South Korean-born, L.A.-based producer/DJ Park Hye Jin has established herself as a versatile artist to watch. The second single off her highly anticipated album Before I Die, due September 10, “Watchu Doin Later” is a slow-grooving monologue in both English and Korean about desperately wanting to make a meaningful connection with someone and wrestling with self-doubt. The lyrics ricochet between the two languages, framed by a downtempo soundscape that perfectly matches the brooding, lovelorn sentiment.
Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Azteck, Angemi - “We’ll Be Dancing Soon”
With brighter days ahead, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike team up with London/Los Angeles based songwriter, producer, DJ AZTECK and Italian DJ/producer Angemi for an uplifting dance track just in time for summer. The monolithic brotherly duo have taken AZTECK and Angemi under their wings and their influence can definitely be heard. While listening to “We’ll Be Dancing Soon”, you’ll picture yourself dancing in the sunshine with your friends at a festival. The smokey vocals on the track bring the lyrics to life, “we’ll be dancing soon, we’ll be singing songs…all the love lives on”. This song gives us hope for better days when we can all gather together again safely.
MIKNNA, Reva DeVito - “Downtown”
Known for their melodic hip hop and electric R&B sound, Los Angeles based duo MIKNNA bring the late night vibes with their latest release “Downtown”. Reva DeVito takes the song to the next level with her vocals that can only be described in three words: dreamy, buttery, and lush. MIKNNA’s very own Mike B. can be heard as the harmony while Ken Nana provides the production with a light airy feel through flutters and funky guitar chords. Overall, the track has the smoothest of grooves and we can only hope to be as cool as these guys one day.
Gorgon City, EVAN GIIA - “Burning”
For nearly a decade, the beloved North London based electronic duo, Gorgon City, has blessed the dance community with tasteful house music and unforgettable DJ Sets at some of the world’s biggest dance festivals. Their September single, ‘Burning’, is a collaboration with their talented Astralwerks labelmate and rising star, EVAN GIIA. EVAN’s voice is absolutely mesmerizing when heard over Gorgon’s City’s pumping house baseline and the hook is dangerously catchy, so proceed with caution!
Moore Kismet, WYN - “Rumor”
Moore Kismet is having a moment, and rightfully so. Since breaking onto the dance scene in 2019 at the tender age of 14, Moore has exceeded all expectations and is now being called dance music’s new rising star. Now 16, having signed to Thrive Music, his single, Rumor is a jaw-dropping collaboration with Australian Producer/DJ, WYN. The track opens with WYN’s eerie vocals, only to abruptly shock the listener with a series of mind-blowing drops featuring the heaviest drums imaginable. With so much promise at such a young age, the sky is the limit for Moore Kismet.
Chris Lake/Armand Van Helden - “The Answer” (feat. Arthur Baker & Victor Simonelli)
Legends in their own right and a dream team if there ever was one, Chris Lake joins Armand Van Helden for “The Answer,” a beat-filled, pumped-up track that is causing a sensation. This song, along with three others, is featured on an EP of the same name the pair released off Chris’s own label, Black Book Records. Featuring bouncy beats, funky hi-hats, soulful vocals and a sample of lines from 1991’s “Why Can’t We See” by Blind Truth, “The Answer” has already streamed over 3 million times on Spotify alone, and the EP has been well received, setting the stage for much more.
Jai Wolf - “Moon Rider” (feat. Wrabel)
Ever since exploding onto the dance scene in 2014 with multiple Hype Machine #1 remixes, New York-based producer Jai Wolf has been a name to watch among electronic music fans around the world. Now linked with legendary indie label Mom + Pop Music, Jai Wolf’s recent releases have been causing a stir. His newest single, “Moon Rider” boasts powerful melodies, huge drums, and stylish vocals, courtesy of Wrabel, whose angelic voice pairs beautifully with the moving co-production of Wolf and Cobra Starship’s Ryland Blackinton.
53 Thieves - “southside”
Despite their mysterious moniker, 53 is actually two singers and two producers releasing seamlessly dreamy songs through the aptly named Majestic Casual Records. Their latest single, “southside,” filled with fluttery beats and smooth, sultry vocals, comes off the quartet’s second EP. Though intel suggests they were working separately even before the pandemic, it’s striking to realize that the four individuals responsible for this music have never been in the same room together. Regardless, having already reached 10 million streams on Spotify with their previous single “dreamin,” this enigmatic foursome is undeniably making a name for themselves.
ford. - “Hold On” (feat. Ayelle)
After the 2018 release of his celebrated debut album, The Evening, 18-year-old ford. garnered critical acclaim for his emotional, textured, and ethereal productions. Now with a GRAMMY nomination under his belt before the age of 21, ford. continues to be something of an anomaly. His new collaboration “Hold On” with Swedish-Iranian artist, Ayelle, is no less mesmerizing. Ayelle’s whimsical vocals float above a flurry of organic drums and a layered collage of melodies that have become ford.’s unique signature. It’s a winning combination that promises great things to come.
MK - “Underwater"”
Detroit native Marc Kinchen, better known as MK, has had a lengthy career that stretches back to the late 80s, but don’t let that fool you. From b2b sets with DJs like DIPLO and Sonny Fodera to festivals like Tomorrowland and Creamfields with his own Area10-curated stages, he’s a house producer that continues to innovate and stay relevant, no matter the decade. In his most recent single, “Underwater,” MK has teamed up with Anabel Englund whose 2018 track, “So Hot,” peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Dance/ Mix Show chart, and spent eight consecutive weeks at no. 1 on U.S. Dance Radio. With Anabel’s sultry vocals and MK’s signature sound, this track makes us miss the dancefloor and staying out until 2AM.
Hotel Garuda - “Rush”
After becoming a bit of an internet legend through a string of DIY Singles and official remixes over the years, Aseem Mangaokar — otherwise known as Hotel Garuda — has finally released this amazing debut EP for Mom + Pop Records, and it does not disappoint. Seamlessly blending indie pop, synth-pop, and electronic styles, Hotel Garuda’s music can be hard to classify. The lead single, “Rush,” is a perfect example of this versatility. Rife with aspects of electro-pop and acid house, the track fuses a pumping bass-line and syncopated electronic drum fills with an old-school 70s-inspired interlude replete with funky guitars and vocoder vocals, culminating with a blazing solo at the song’s crescendo. Aseem once again manages to mix all these disparate musical elements together into a cohesive and undeniably unique listening experience.
Le Youth - “Unattached"”
“Unattached” is Le Youth’s most recent release from his own label, PRGRSSN Records. Wes James — better known as Le Youth — has made the move to more deep, melodic, and progressive house music over the past year, which is evident on this track. Analog synths mixed with energized beats are what we love about it. Le Youth’s previous track “Gemini” was one of his first originals on Above & Beyond’s, Anjunabeats. 2020 has been an interesting year for Wes and BMI is excited to have him as this edition’s Spotlight Interview.
Win and Woo – “Feel Em All”
Since 2015, Nick Winholt and Austin Woo have collaborated under the name Win and Woo to release awe-inspiring cuts and remixes that have gone on to become club classics. Rising to prominence in the Chicago dance scene with the likes of Louis The Child, Win and Woo forged a lane of their own in the last five years, amassing a dedicated fanbase around the world. After listening to their mesmerizing new single “Feel Em All,” out via Armada Music, it’s no mystery as to why they’ve earned such a following. Blending underground EDM production with intricate melodies and catchy pop hooks, “Feel Em All” is the perfect addition to your quarantine dance party playlist.
3LAU - “Tokyo (feat. XIRA)”
Las Vegas DJ/producer 3LAU (pronounced “blau”) is all about giving back. Since his rise in the DJ world, he has helped raise money to build schools in Guatemala through Pencils of Promise, donated money to Cancer research, and has launched the world's first not-for-profit dance label, Blume. That alone should be enough to earn respect and admiration, but he also happens to make mind-blowingly great music. His latest single "Tokyo (feat. XIRA)" combines a catchy vocal from Sydney-based indie pop songwriter XIRA with 3LAU’s signature sprawling production, guaranteed to instantly inspire spontaneous dance moves.
Duke Dumont - “Therapy”
Adam Dyment — better known as UK-based DJ/producer Duke Dumont -- has been on the scene since 2006. Somewhere between receiving a GRAMMY nomination, having a worldwide smash hit single with Katy Perry and becoming an internationally revered figure in clubs and festivals across the world; Adam has cemented himself among the top echelon of House Music producers on the planet. His new single "Therapy", via Virgin EMI, continues to impress with a mesmerizing vocal and high-energy production. True to its title, the track is a therapeutic experience on the dance floor.
Rome In Silver - “Yoko”
Given his reluctance to adhere to any single genre, electronic musician Rome In Sliver (Vincenzo Pisciotta, to his mother) frequently leaves listeners not know what to expect beyond the knowledge it will be amazing and unique. The Orange County-based DJ/producer’s latest single, “Yoko” — released by San Holo’s able imprint, bitbird — furthers the intrigue, mixing robotic rhythms with dreamy pads to set your mind reeling until the bass synths drops in and brings you back to reality.
pluko - “the lovely one”
As a young bedroom producer hailing from the small Pennsylvania town of Hollidaysburg, it's seemingly a mystery how pluko (aka Sam Martinsen) rose to prominence so quickly until you listen to his music. With undeniable mastery of electronic production, pluko continues to surprise his fans with amazing sounds and catchy melodies he constructs out of thin air. His latest single, "the lovely one." is no different with its mesmerizing rhythms and explosive synth arpeggios.
Black Caviar – “Kubrick Faked The Moon Landing”
After first meeting in a Philadelphia bowling alley, Troy Hinson and Jared Piccone formed a partnership to create amazing music under the moniker Black Caviar. Their latest track, “Kubrick Faked The Moon Landing,” fuses punchy drums with futuristic effects and mysterious melodies into an instant house classic.
Haywyre – “With You” (Prismo Remix)
As a bit of a departure from his typical sound, Prismo’s new remix of Haywyre’s “With You” is particularly magical. While the original track invoked a retro-80’s dynamic with vocoder vocals and sequenced synthesizers, Prismo adds some distinctive, heavily distorted synth drops, and it all meshes together perfectly. “With You” is one of those tracks you’ll want to put on repeat for the coming months.
Com Truise – “Persuasion System”
Known for his signature slow-funk sound, Ghostly International artist, Com Truise, delivers once again on this track. Featuring lush synths and plump, analogue percussion, “Persuasion System” is a non-stop express to outer space.
AOBeats – “I Have Trouble Sleeping”
Los Angeles-based AOBeats has been the golden child of electronic label Moving Castle for some time now. His newly released (and highly anticipated) sophomore album, I Have Trouble Sleeping, comes packed with featured cameos from such names as Mark Johns, LIZ, EXES, SAKIMA, Ravenna Golden, Luka Kloser and more. The album’s title track, meanwhile, is a solid, one-man show that showcases AOBeats’ truly unique production style.
4B – “Told You”
New Jersey’s 4B is at it again with another hard-hitting party anthem, released via Ultra records. With a skillful blend of trap and hardstyle production, 4B continues to push sonic boundaries and defy expectations on dancefloors around the world. The fire extinguisher on the cover says it all, this track is combustible.
Andrew Bayer – “Bottle Top Trance”
GRAMMY-nominated producer, Andrew Bayer, has released his ode to trance music. Influenced by some of the classic Euro-trance anthems of his childhood, Bayer continues to experiment with his sound. Infused with classic trance references, catchy synth lines, and impressively complex production, “Bottle Top Trance” is simultaneously modern and nostalgic.
Alesso, SUMR CAMP – “In The Middle”
Fresh of signing with management company, The Shalizi Group (who also handle Marshmello, Jauz, Slushii, etc), Alesso has unleashed his newest single “In The Middle” with the mysterious newcomer, SUMR CAMP. With an incredibly catchy hook, this deep house cut is sure to become a classic on dancefloors and car stereos alike.
Zeds Dead X DROLOE – “Stars Tonight”
Rippling with a mesmerizing, melodic intro, a huge future-bass crescendo and their signature distorted synth sound, Toronto’s Zeds Dead are back with “Stars Tonight,” a monster collab with Dutch production duo DROELOE. This lush track’s slow-building majesty is the perfect marriage of grit and grandeur.
VNSSA + Eric Mark – “This and That” (Edit)
Having established herself with four memorable sets at this year’s EDC, house music maven VNSSA (a.k.a. Vanessa Barns) is continuing to make serious waves with her latest single. Co-written with longtime collaborator Eric Mark and released on Australian label Box of Cats, “This and That” pairs a distorted vocal sample from the 90’s with seriously gritty drums for an energetic romp to be enjoyed on dancefloors around the world.
Claude Vonstrokem & Eddy M – “Getting Hot”
House-music legend and Dirty Bird founder Claude Vonstroke joins forces with Barcelona-based Eddy M to forge this spicy banger for the summer. Rife with piercing hi-hats, a pumping bassline and some suitably scalding synths, “Getting Hot” is ideal for turning up the sizzle at your next weekend barbeque.
Chris Lake – “Stay With Me”
Fresh off an amazing couple of set at EDC in Las Vegas, Insomniac-affiliated producer/DJ/songwriter Chris Lake continues to impress with this stunning new single, released through his own label imprint, Black Book. Brimming with Lake’s signature tech house style, infectious synths and massive vocals courtesy of Lake’s own spouse, Gita Lake, “Stay With Me” is perfect for the main stage.
Slushii – “Never Let You Go” (featuring Sofia Reyes)
Time and again, Los Angeles-based DJ/producer/songwriter Slushii demonstrates that he can tackle any style he sets his mind to. On this latest release on Big Beat Records, Slushii goes fully tropical in collaboration with Latin GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Sofia Reyes for a sun-kissed slice of steel-drum-buffered dance-pop that’s as sweet as a frozen cocktail on a sultry summer night.
Alec Chambers & Stavros - “Starting Fires”
Pair the soulful swoon of Alec Chambers with the sparkling, propulsive production of Stavros, and you’re bound to get something truly special. Sure enough, their latest collaboration, “Starting Fires” has been making consistent waves since its February release as a seamless fusion of romantic, melodic pop with an undeniable EDM pulse.
Wolfgang Gartner – “Ectoplasm”
Deftly fusing the disparate sonic strands of Electro, House and Dubstep into a many-tentacled masterpiece driven by his signature classical melody, veteran producer Wolfgang Gartner does not disappoint with his first single of 2019.
Alicia Madison – “Make It Up To You”
After releasing a slew of memorable dance singles since 2011, NYC singer/songwriter Alicia Madison has joined forces with production duo, The Golden Pony. Bolstered by an warm, inviting melody and Madison’s honeyed vocals, the track also boasts a secret weapon in the form of a deeply infectious, whistled hook that will cement itself in your head.
KANDY & Nonsens – “Like This”
When NYC-based producer/DJ KANDY and Denmark-based production trio, Nonsens, collaborate, good things are bound to happen, and their newest creation “Like This” is a very good thing. Released on the Mad Decent sub-label, Good Enuff, “Like This” is a huge, propulsive track that is bound to see some heavy rotation in clubs and festivals around the world.
ZOOKËPER – “From Me”
Known for his amazing remixes for high-profile artists like Cher, Jason Derülo, John Mayer, and Smallpools, L.A.- based DJ and producer Zookëper has released a succession of impressive singles throughout 2018. His latest release on Spinnin’ Records, “From Me,” is just as impactful, featuring strong vocals and huge synth melodies that are sure to get stuck in your head for the next twenty-four hours.
RL Grime – “Pressure”
As the first single from the full album Nova, “Pressure” is an audacious opening shot for Los Angeles-based DJ/producer RL Grime. While the album is filled with a variety of musical styles ranging from Dance to Pop to R&B, featuring the likes of Miguel, Julia Michaels, Ty Dolla $ign, Daya, Jeremih, & Tory Lanez, “Pressure” is a callback to his classic signature brand of distorted synth-based dance music. With the song first appearing in his Halloween mix released last year and later featured in a 2018 Apple iMac Pro ad campaign, it’s release last week has been highly anticipated.
Whethan – “Superlove” (feat. Oh Wonder)
In anticipation of Whethan’s Life of A Wallflower Tour kicking off this fall, the highly-touted producer has released the amazing “Superlove” with the London-based Alt-Pop masterminds Oh Wonder. According to Josephine and Anthony of Oh Wonder, the song was written in just 30 minutes by the three of them while in a Los Angeles Studio session. The fun energy of the production and catchy vocals of Superlove makes it the perfect soundtrack to any sunny afternoon by the pool.
Glitch Mob – “Go Light”
As the fourth single from their much-anticipated third album, See Without Eyes, “Go Light” by The Glitch Mob is almost the perfect distillation of the L.A. trio’s sound, fusing infectious, glitched-out synths, booming chords and anthemic chord progressions. As a final warning shot prior to the high-impact arrival of the full-length album, four years in the making, “Go Light” ushers in a new phase the electro band’s already formidable journey.
Shallou – “Lie”
Originally hailing from Washington, DC, but now based in Los Angeles, Shallou is an artist and producer specializing in atmospheric electronic music. On this latest single, he’s teamed up with indie-pop vocalist Riah and the effect is mesmerizing. By pairing minimalist synths and pulsing beats with a light, winsome melody, Shallou’s signature happy/sad production aesthetic strikes the perfect balance with Riah’s lilting voice to create a truly unique dance song, ideal for a rainy day. Be sure to keep an eye out for Shallou’s impressive live show, which seamlessly blends dreamy electronics, loops, and live instrumentation.
Salt Cathedral – “No Love”
A lush amalgam of sparkling synths, sweet vocal harmonies, Caribbean flourishes and an irrepressible Latin rhythm, “No Love” by Ultra Music’s Salt Cathedral is a breezy tribute to the power of love and dancing over hate and violence. As a NYC-based duo of native Colombians, Salt Cathedral has been making waves in the dance community with their uniquely distinctive blend of sumptuous, tropical pop.
Armin van Buuren & Garibay -- “I Need You” (feat. Olaf Blackwood)
A seamless mix of crystalline pop and cutting edge production, “I Need You” is the infectious brainchild of super-producers and DJ’s Fernando Garibay and Armin van Buuren. Concentrating on their considerable strengths, while van Buuren’s more renowned for his trance work, Garibay’s midas touch as a versatile producer and songwriter, having worked extensively with everyone from Lady Gaga through U2, shines through on this track. Paring the soulful vocals of Olaf Blackwood with a compelling pulse, haunting chorus and wide-screen sonic expanse, “I Need You” is a genre-straddling confection that transcends the dance floor.
APEK – “Traces” ft. Karra
L.A.-based producer, APEK, closes out an eventful year of chart success, streaming achievements, high-profile collabs, and a Tritonal tour with his new song, “Traces.” A richly melodic new track, “Traces” pairs broken-beat innovation with soaring synths and ethereal vocals, courtesy of the incredible Karra. It offers a seamless dance-floor experience that reinforces APEK’s name as one to keep an ear out for.
Solidisco – “Get In Love”
Buffalo natives and self-proclaimed “taco aficionados,” Solidisco have been lighting up dancefloors and festivals around the globe with an arsenal of originals and remixes out via big player labels, Universal Music & Big Beat/Atlantic, Ultra Records and taste-makers A-Trak’s Fool’s Gold & Laidback Luke’s Mixmash Records. Playing homage to the roots of house music, Solidisco reps the culture, while keeping the dancefloor rocking in the current landscape of dance music.
Ramzoid – “Maze”
As co-founder of the Soda Island collective, 18-year-old Canadian producer/DJ Ramzoid established himself as a fresh new force in electronic dance music with a distinctive sound that has garnered the support from acts such as Jauz, Jack U, and Baauer. Breaking away from the DJ standard, his live show is augmented with launch pads, midi-controllers, and a drum kit, so make sure to check the dates for his upcoming tour with Jai Wolf. Blazing ahead with an EP of his own, Universe, Ramzoid is continuing to put his own spin on Future bass.
Unlike Pluto – “Show Me Love” ft. Michelle Buzz
Unlike Pluto is an Atlanta-born/L.A.-based DJ/producer who infuses his obsession with electronic dance music with influences and instrumentation from well beyond the conventional realm of the dancefloor. Rightly celebrated as one of Billboard’s Dance Artists to Watch, this multifaceted music creator has only started to reveal his capabilities. “Show Me Love” arrives with vocalist Michelle Buzz’s silky cooing before the track bursts open with spiraling synths, a soulful chorus and a big, expansive drop.
Boombox Cartel & QUIX – “Supernatural” ft. Anjulie
Initially meeting as students at music school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mexico-born artists Americo Garcia and Jorge Medina recognized the potential of their collective chemistry and pooled their musical resources as Boombox Cartel to swiftly drive their informed, innovative sound to the height of the Minneapolis DJ scene. A quick succession of self-releases proved them a force to be reckoned with.
Abandoning chilly Minnesota for the sun and scene of Southern California, the duo has continued to crank out influential singles, catching the ears and accolades of names like Diplo, Skrillex, DJ Snake and Martin Garrix. Their most recent effort, “Supernatural,” finds Boombox Cartel merging with the bass power of QUIX and the sinewy voice of Canadian singer/songwriter Anjulie for a cinematic dancefloor epic.
No Way Back & Le Youth - “Back 2 Life”
DJ/producer No Way Back (a.k.a. Anthony Pisano) has earned a reputation for a style that deftly fuses house, hip-hop and soul, as evidenced on his acclaimed debut single “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay,” which stormed the Top 10 of the UK Music Week Club Chart. This latest track, meanwhile, finds him putting a cutting-edge spin on the sound of the hedonistic 90’s via a collaboration with fellow Los Angeleno DJ/producer Le Youth (a.k.a. Wes James), himself renowned for filling dance floors with a cool blend of house and R&B. Keep your eyes and ears out for more of this blissful brand of dance music from both Now Way Back and Le Youth.
Jayceeoh – “Elevate” ft. Nevve
Having already established himself as a globally recognized force on the turntables, L.A.-based producer Jayceeoh has earned the respect from celebrated fellow DJ/producers like A-trak, Bassnectar, Boregore and Flosstradamus, and released original trap and bass-driven remixes on influential labels like Dim Mak, Fool’s Gold, Ultra Records, Buygore and more. His latest track, “Elevate,” is poised to only push him further forward, featuring a head-turning vocal performance by Nevve over Jayceeoh’s lush, synth-laden production and propulsive beats.
GOLDROOM – “Silhouette”
Not just an accomplished DJ and producer, Goldroom (a.k.a. Josh Legg) makes sparklingly lush electronic dance music, but the soul of a bona fide songwriter lurks just beneath the beats. Layered under the sweeping synths, soaring vocals and “nostalgic production tones” of his new single “Silhouette,” Goldroom dreamily hearkens to another age. Straying from the DJ norm, Goldroom’s been known to bring his music to festivals around the world with a full live band. Could crossover success be far behind? Stay tuned.
TWRK & Lady Bee – “Wheels in Motion”
A strong contender for song of the summer, “Wheels in Motion” pairs New York City’s TWRK with Amsterdam’s Lady Bee. Initially an anonymous duo, TWRK were already cranking out dance floor hits for Diplo’s Mad Decent imprint when the influential DJ/producer revealed their true identities on his BBC Radio program as Benzi and Esentrik. “Wheels in Motion” is a haunting, mid-tempo jam that will only further their growing reputation.
Zookёper – “Gunz”
This New Jersey-native-turned-LA-transplant may be a new face in the DJ world, but he’s no stranger to the stage. As a former member of pop/rock-gone-EDM trio, Cash Cash, Zookёper spent more time touring the globe before his 21st birthday than some acts do in a lifetime. Released by Hysteria Records, “Gunz” has already received support from some of the top DJs around the world, including Martin Garrix, David Guetta, and Morgan Page.
Suspect 44 – “Headlights”
Unbound by genre lines, Suspect 44 fuse the wildly catchy vibes from contemporary popand the lush melodies of Progressive House, and the results are powerful, unique and fresh. Check out their latest track, “Headlights,” out now on Armada Trice.