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.
As a GRAMMY-nominated DJ, producer and songwriter who has toured around the world, Morgan Page has experienced quite a bit and learned a few tricks of the trade. During his momentous two-decade career, Page has written songs with a diverse list of notables including Tegan & Sara, Greg Laswell, and Andy Caldwell, and released official remixes for Deadmau5, Daft Punk, HIM, Ava Max, and Alessia Cara. Recently, BMI asked Page to shed some light on his cerebral approach to songwriting and production, and he put together 10 thought-provoking tips. Designed to make aspiring music creators think outside of the box, Page’s pointers should help break some bad habits and strengthen the creative process.
Most writer’s block stems from an incomplete palette. Fill your palette with inspiring samples, lyric titles and phrases, and chord progression and melody voice memos.
Bank your ideas daily, rather than facing an entirely blank canvas. Spend the time to gather a diverse, deep trove of assets, but don’t get stuck in the research phase. Gather your materials with paper, pen, and phone and start working immediately. Your most valuable tool is the curation of materials that reflect your taste, and the raw materials involved. Nothing is really new, just the common thread you weave to combine existing elements together.
The Secret Is The Sequence:
Every song develops differently. Try switching the order of composition to achieve different results. Try starting your song with a bassline rather than the usual beat, chord progression and melody. It’ll make you voice chords differently, simply because you changed the order. When writing lyrics, try words first instead of melodic placeholder mumbling, or simultaneously develop the backing music and melody together. Even just composing to a click rather than a kick, or waiting to add snares, claps, or syncopated percussion until later will change the outcome of your process.
Develop Systems, Avoid Routines:
Systems create efficiencies and routines create traps. You don’t fall into a system—you fall into a routine. Build a system that works for you, like a morning schedule that effectively structures your day, but allow variation in your schedule for fresh thinking. Change your environment, tool set, or schedule to change your thinking patterns. Use templates to provide basic structure, but don’t let them box you in. Good templates should work like graph paper - a suggested path but not a predetermined destiny.
Gut vs Logic:
Outpace left-brain logic with faster gut decisions by working early in the morning or late at night when the logic brain is weak. Occupy the left brain with repetitive kinetic motion activities like walking, running, driving, drawing, and showering to free the creative mind. It’s not clear why this works but many artists use this process to create their best work. Post Malone paces while singing voice memos into his iPhone. In Shangri-La sessions, Rick Rubin noticed that nearly all his artists doodled while writing lyrics, to help keep the process moving. Just make sure to have a way to record your ideas when they come, because they often arrive when you don’t have a pen and paper handy!
Maximum Emotion, Minimum Bandwidth:
Aim for maximum emotion with minimal bandwidth. What sounds will have the biggest emotional impact and take the least amount of energy away from the mix? Use distortion as texture to create presence and power through harmonics. What is the minimum effective dose needed to achieve the desired effect? Super low frequencies below 20 Hz take up valuable bandwidth and voltage without contributing to the song. Too many sounds layered together will simply mask the sound and fight for sonic space. Can you make one sound play different roles (i.e. having the arpeggio drive the entire rhythm and also the implied chords)? Or can the bass line be the lead? Make sure your data is working for you - it’s up to human ears to decide which parts to scoop out or mute and which to accentuate.
Don’t chip away or tinker. Dive in fully and embrace total immersion. Tinkering is experimenting without a real intended outcome. Be disciplined and work with intention to finish music - you can edit and polish the atoms later. Focus on one key task per day - start with one song in basic form - not a final mix. I usually work in “road dog” or “studio rat” modes, where I’m “greased” specifically for that mode. Road-dog mode is making mashups and edits, playing several shows in a row, and analyzing transitions and what songs work together best in a set. Studio-rat mode is working with big monitors and the isolation of a studio, working on many original songs to get them to the finish line.
Embrace The Mundane:
Chop wood, carry water. Embrace the mundane everyday tasks and continually fall in love with the process over and over again, rather than the benefits or outcome. Even basic maintenance tasks like cleaning the studio can be useful for getting the mind into a creative space. Some days I’ll dive into manuals I skimmed to find lost basics I can apply to my current projects, or just spend days creating or curating samples. To have a sustainable career you’ll need to love the work process, because money won’t sustain your interest. “The reward for work is more work” - Mark van de Walle
Break the inertia of inaction by taking one small step towards your goal for the day. Playing one chord can lead to an entire song. The most important thing is to stop thinking about getting into the studio and actually do it. One inspiring sample, one chord, one guitar riff - that’s all it takes to drive the process forward. Wear your analytical editor hat later in the process - for now, it’s about stepping into that creative portal and following the feeling once you reach that “clicking point,” where an idea sprouts legs and tells you where it wants to go.
Channel Inspiration & Avoid Expectation:
Write a song with no expectations or outside influence. Trust your instincts, follow your gut, and save judgment, critique, and comparisons for later in the process. This is crucial to making music that will resonate with others. Rather than listen to current radio hits and charts for inspiration, dig back into history and combine older proven ideas in unexpected ways. Combine the DNA of the past to synthesize sounds of the future. You don’t have to start from seed, just graft onto the proven foundation of frameworks from the past. Build a playlist of what inspires you and skim through for ideas.
Use living templates and central documents that evolve, rather than starting over every time. Instead of using only one master template, create several that are custom-tailored for each need. I have specific templates for drafts, remixes, voiceovers, and stem mixing. Take advantage of color-coding tracks, setting plugin defaults and fader levels, and go-to instruments. Keep your templates lean and flexible and make them work for you! Template building is an art and they will continually morph as your work process changes.