More than a manager, Brett Blackman, CEO of URL2IRL, is a tireless evangelizer. Working with emerging names in electronic dance music like Hotel Garuda, Manila Killa, AOBeats, Slow Magic and Goldroom and establishing his own forward-thinking record label, Moving Castle Music, Blackman provides hands-on artist management and brand development, plus acts as a media liaison. Beyond that, Blackman is intent on spreading the word, growing the community and expanding and influencing tastes to embrace the music that he clearly believes so much in. He is a champion for his artists with a love of their work and a savvy business acumen to get their music played, heard, shared and enjoyed across all platforms.
BMI caught up with Brett Blackman to find out what drives his success and his passion for electronic music. Here’s what he had to say.
Brett, over the past five or so years, your name has been synonymous with the LA electronic music scene. Everyone we speak with in the dance world seems to know you, somehow. To start, give us some backstory on how you started your record label, Moving Castle, and your management company, URL2IRL. Did it all come together accidently or was it something you planned from the beginning?
First of all, thank you for asking to interview me! It’s always funny to hear things like this, especially not being able to go out during the last year due to Covid. But I appreciate when my name gets brought up. Of course, on the record-label side, Moving Castle was an idea in 2013 by Hunt For The Breeze, Robokid, AObeats and Manila Killa. Then they asked me to get involved. We didn’t feel like we belonged to any sort of community like an OWSLA, Mad Decent, Team Supreme, WEDIDIT, Soulection, etc., so wanted to make something on our own. The idea came together pretty naturally. It was Hunt For The Breeze who actually named the collective, named after the animated classic, Howl’s Moving Castle, of course. We first kicked things off by doing a compilation with Jailo and Kappa Kavi from the Netherlands, Vices from Florida, Dirty Chocolate from DC & Bonae Bonae, and Ba-kuura & Objectives. Things began taking off as we did more compilations. Eventually, we decided to make it a real label in the summer of 2015, when we put out “Helix 2.0” on global platforms. It was a true moment that summer; all our friends played it out during their sets!
Regarding my management company, I was working independently for years without a name or anything. I was loosely using URL2IRL (Internet 2 Real Life) as an LLC to run my company, but I never made it an actual outward-facing name or anything. It first started because I kept becoming friends with people on the internet, then meeting them in person, and felt it was synonymous with helping artists build themselves online and transition to becoming a live act as well. I don’t think anything came together as planned. It was super organic on both the label and management sides.
What is your current label and management roster now?
For the label, we don’t have anyone signed on an exclusive basis, but regarding projects we’re releasing this year (if I can say or not), we have upcoming releases from Juuku, Dugong Jr, Covex, Meesh, Dash30, Simon Cress, Khamsin and a few others, excluding the co-founders of AObeats, Robokid, and Manila Killa.
For my management roster, it includes: AObeats, Goldroom, Hotel Garuda, Manila Killa, Slow Magic, as well as Power Glove - who I co-manage with my good friend, Ryan Moe.
You and your artists have managed to come up together, and they also happen to be friends of yours. How do you handle that line between personal and professional? What is your mindset going into a new project, having to decide when to put on your manager hat instead of your friend hat?
Yes, we have, it has been a beautiful thing! I think about this often, especially when people say that friends cannot work with one another. For me, we are definitely close friends, but of course like anything else in a working relationship, we have boundaries, expectations, and want what is best for one another. At the end of the day, it’s a partnership, and I want to help them steer their ship to obtain their hopes and dreams, as well as help execute their vision. I joke about referring myself to a ship’s captain. They are the ship and I help coordinate with them and the rest of the crew.
My mindset going into a project is easy (enough): “What do you want? What has been resonating with you sonically and visually? What has been inspiring you? And how do we tie all of these things together?” I don’t even think about wearing a friend vs. manager hat these days. We all talk freely, and they know when they need to get things done or if I need to nudge them to do so. At the end of the day, we understand deadlines as well as timelines that are in place and I’m there to keep them on track.
How did you learn how to be an artist manager? Did you have mentors when you were coming up or is it just something you have to learn as you go? Now that you’ve been in the business for a while, how would you describe your management style?
I first started learning how to be an artist manager in 2012 when I started blogging about music I liked. For two years, I talked to publicists, artists, managers and labels every day, and it let me soak in everything like a sponge on what I wanted to do. I sadly did not have any mentors but learned from people around me that taught me what I know now. I also just read and watched a ton of things that helped me learn as well. I think, like any job, the most important thing when starting out is just learning on the go.
Being someone who has ADHD, I would say my style is organized chaos. Jokes aside, I am actually very organized, though. I have not really been asked what my style is, but the way I go about my day-to-day routine. For me, my style is very hands-on with my artists. I love being an A&R and getting involved with the creative process, as well as marketing. My brain really works at connecting the dots, so that is what I like to focus on.
Shifting focus to your record label, Moving Castle. The question of the day seems to be, “How do you get eyes on your music when releasing on digital platforms?” When releasing new music from the artists on your roster nowadays, what is your promotion strategy? Also, how have your rollouts changed since you first started?
Man, it is so hard these days, especially with the algorithm sometimes burying things. Honestly, we make things that are just on-brand that resonate with the artists we are releasing with. From the music to the art to the videos, we try and have everything be super cohesive.
I guess with promotion strategy, it differs with each artist depending on their goals, the story they want to tell, and the art they want to create. I think it’s really important to tell the artist’s story, and if that means getting the proper looks on editorial, mixes, etc. I want their voices heard as to how they came up with their art and how they channel themselves into it.
I guess compared to when we first started, we now have a better understanding of what it means to do a rollout and what things are must-haves when doing a release, i.e. that radio spin, that interview, that mix, that video, etc. Overall, I think like anything, it’s just adapting to technology, too. For example, HypeM used to be a bigger thing, now it’s not and everything is more focused on playlists and TikTok.
We’re sure you get a lot of requests or submissions from people wanting to connect or wanting you to listen to their music. How do you know when it is the right time to work with a particular artist in either a management or label context?
You know when you know, you know? For me, my newer management clients, Slow Magic and Goldroom, happened very organically. They actually reached out to me. I’ve been fans of both of them for years and it helps that they are friends with my artists.
Generally speaking, when looking for new clients, I prefer to know the artists first and I need to get along with them on a personal level. For the label side, it’s a very similar case. The artists are fans of the label first, and we all see something in them. There is always that spark. Seeing them have a vision for their project and feeling their passion when you talk to them.
Overall, I think the artist needs to already have a fair understanding of who they are and what they want. Then, you (the manager or label) can help to elevate their brand and provide the connections needed to take them to the next step.
What has been the most challenging part of your career thus far?
I would have to say it was first realizing I wanted to do it, followed by breaking into it, followed by the pandemic. But overall, the most challenging part of my career is when the pandemic hit. We were relying on tour revenue and having to figure out what the next steps would be while waiting on the pandemic has been tough.
On that note, the pandemic has obviously changed so much about the music industry. How have you adapted as a label owner and manager? Any positives that can be taken out of it?
Being a label owner, it really has made us hone in on what we really want out of signees. For us, we have really focused on developing new talent, seeing through some of our favorite artists’ first big projects, and returning artists’ big projects that we’ve collaborated with in the past. We love collaborating with our friends new and old, and it has been truly special being able to work side by side sharing our resources and working together with them and their teams to allow their vision to come to fruition.
As a manager, it has been tough. Like I said before, touring was a huge source of revenue, however, it has been a blessing in disguise to stop touring after years of doing so. I could see they were bordering on burning out and so was I to a degree. The last year has been used to rest, recuperate, and focus on our mental health.
Three-part question: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received, and from who? What advice would you give to aspiring artists? Is that different from advice you would give to aspiring managers/ music industry professionals?
- Whatever you daydream about, do that. I sadly forget who told me this, but it made me truly think about what I wanted out of life, and I always kept thinking about music or events when I was in school, etc…
- Do your 10,000 hours, hone in on your craft, work with your friends who make art, do photography and create like you. Build together.
- Same, but different. For aspiring managers or music industry professionals, understand what you’re good at, if that’s connecting people… etc.
Any upcoming releases/ projects from your artists we should look out for? Can you tease anything for us?
The fun stuff! For Moving Castle, we just put out visual artist Juuku’s debut EP, as well as started rolling out an EP by Dugong JR. We just announced Covex’s debut album, and just put out the last song on Slow Magic’s album rollout.
We’ve actually planned out our releases until next year, the rest will be a surprise!
On the management side, what I can say is, there are shows again! We may or may not be looking into high seas events for Goldroom. His yearly boat events are in a handful of cities. Also, I’m excited to be finally announcing these festivals, that obviously we hope to happen, but understand if they get pushed again due to Covid restrictions. That said, it’s uplifting and exciting to be looking into and booking future tours!
For music from my management company, we have a ton of really special remixes for some of our favorite artists that are locked in, but sadly I cannot tell what those are just yet. You’ll see! Regarding originals, I cannot let the cat out of the bag in full, but we have a few really exciting full projects in the works from my roster, which I hope we can announce sooner rather than later.
Overall, there is an excitement in the air that things are turning back to normal in the music world, and I can’t wait to see live shows again. Lastly, thanks again for having me!!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.