The brainchild of two friends and innovators who came together out of their mutual love of house music and the thrill of collaboration, SIDEPIECE hit the rave scene like a hammer, in the last two years, combining the skills of producers Party Favor (also known as Dylan Ragland) and Nitti Gritti (Ricky Mears). Though both were already well established on the EDM scene, their joint venture has taken their respective reputations to a whole new level. Since first coming together in 2019, the duo has released a string of well-received singles like “Wanna See You,” “Fallin for You,” “Together” and “On My Mind,” their collab with Diplo, a killer track that has gone on to earn a GRAMMY nomination.
On the back of these bangers and with more on the way, BMI’s David Streit and Nia Aglipay caught up with SIDEPIECE to find out what’s next. Here’s what they had to say.
Since the early Soundcloud days (maybe earlier), you both have been making solid names for yourselves in the dance community. In the grand scheme of things, your project SIDEPIECE is fairly new, yet it feels really natural as if it were always meant to be. Can you tell us how you linked up? Were you always planning on collaborating at some point or did the project come together recently?
Ricky: We got on FaceTime one day and showed each other some tech-house records. After that, it was so easy to figure out the rest. It’s kind of funny, looking back, how immediate it was that we knew we should make a house project together.
Dylan: It really feels like it’s been ages, though. I think it’s because we have made so much music that hasn’t seen the light of day yet. I had wanted to do a tech-house project for many years, and almost started one myself many times, but could never fully commit. I really respect Ricky as a producer and as a person, and it just popped into my head to reach out to him and see if he was down to be a part of it. It was pretty amazing because he started playing me some house stuff he had worked on and vice versa. I think we both realized right then and there that there was something special here. It was fate. It was time. We aren’t putting as much pressure on ourselves because this is both of our side projects (sidepieces), so I think that’s allowed us to just have fun and make what we wanna make!
Speaking of collaborating, we can’t go much further in the interview without mentioning “On My Mind” with Diplo. Congratulations on your first ever GRAMMY nomination! Definitely one of the biggest dance tracks in the past year. How did the song originally come together?
Ricky: So I had a writing camp with Diplo in Bali and made the song almost two years ago. Then later we started SIDEPIECE. I knew immediately it was a good fit for a Diplo & SIDEPIECE record instead of my solo project Nitti Gritti. Then we polished it up and got the release plan ready. The rest was natural and people seemed to gravitate towards the song.
Dylan: Thank you! We are honored, humbled and super-appreciative of how well the song has been received. Not a bad song to basically come out of the gate with. Ricky started this song with Wes (Diplo) before the SIDEPIECE project even started. When we initially started working on the project, he showed me the record as it was at the time, and we both agreed it was perfect for the project. We worked on it more from there and the rest is history!
Where were you and what was your reaction when you first heard the news that “On My Mind” had a GRAMMY nomination? We imagine it was a good day.
Ricky: I was in Dominican Republic with my family and my girlfriend’s family and we all freaked out while watching the live stream. I still have the video saved to remember the feeling.
Dylan: I was sitting in my studio watching the live stream of the nominees with my fiancé, and wasn’t really expecting to see anything, but excited to see who/what was nominated. When we first saw the name pop up, i just started jumping around my place like crazy and immediately FaceTimed Ricky. It was surreal.
When you first released “On My Mind,” did you know it had a shot at a GRAMMY? Or was the nomination a complete surprise?
Ricky: I had a hint of the caliber of the song because it just seemed to check off all the right boxes for a big dance record. I was surprised though; it’s surreal to be nominated for a GRAMMY this time now that it’s actually my own project.
Dylan: The first time I heard an early version I knew it was going to be huge. On top of that, Diplo was playing it out for a year almost and no one had any idea we were even on it. It was getting a ton of support and it just seemed like it was getting a great response. It’s exceeded expectations and is super exciting.
Live events and awards shows have looked different for the past year. How has it been navigating the industry through the pandemic? We imagine you both are used to playing to huge crowds and festivals.
Ricky & Dylan: It’s been a nice calm break from touring so much in the past, but I think we’re all ready to get back to festivals.
With the success of “On My Mind,” there are probably lots of new opportunities on the horizon to collaborate with other notable artists/songwriters around the world. Thinking a little bit about the future, who would be a dream collaborator you’d like to work with in the coming year?
Ricky: I’d love to work with Diplo again, Dom Dolla, Chris Lake would be awesome eventually, too!
Dylan: I think we are trying to keep the mindset the same since the beginning, which is bringing both of our sounds and styles together as SIDEPIECE into the house world. We have been making mostly originals, but definitely want to collaborate this year. I personally would love to collaborate with Green Velvet, Richie Hawtin, Eli Brown. They are some of my favorites and I think we could make something super wild.
We’re hopeful going into 2021 and are only bringing good energy into this year. What are some things you’re looking forward to? Can you tease some news about this upcoming year and any releases from you both?
Ricky: I think we’re both excited to release new tunes. We’ve spent a lot of time working together on new music during the pandemic. I am trying to be patient and wait for things to get back to normal so we can enjoy the energy of the crowd again.
Dylan: Us too! Can’t get any worse then last year right?!? We have a ton of records coming out this year, starting with “Temptation,” which we made as one of the first songs as SIDEPIECE, so we are glad it’s finally seeing the light of day. Collabs and some festivals in the works this year. Going to be a great year!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.