10 fast-rising artists about to take over Australian dance music
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There’s no question that Australian music is in a very good place right now. In particular, our electronic scene is bursting with creativity and collaboration, and the world at large is paying close attention.
Whether it’s lo-fi house, breezy electro-pop or festival-ready trap, new talent is bubbling up every day. It’s not easy staying on top of all the new faces doing Australia proud, so here at inthemix we decided to narrow it down. Read on for ten home-grown artists we think you should get to know.
Photo credit: Mansionair/Facebook
Most fans got hooked on Mansionair via their huge first single, Hold Me Down. With millions of online plays to date, the track propelled the understated Sydney trio to new heights. In between a sold-out headline tour and slots on Laneway Festival, the band also built strong buzz at SXSW.
Mansionair have kept the new music coming too, with last year’s Easier combining their shimmering electronics and aching vocals. They also recently teamed up with hyped Seattle duo ODESZA and vocalist WYNNE on Line Of Sight, which should win them even more converts.
Play this track: Hold Me Down would be the obvious choice, but you’ve probably already heard that. Try Easier instead.
#2 Dena Amy
Based in Sydney but making waves overseas, Dena Amy is a rare triple threat: producer, DJ and singer. With her striking voice featured on songs from RÜFÜS and Kyle Watson, she’s also toured through Australia and North America with Hayden James.
However, it’s her own music that’s leading the way. Dena Amy’s debut single, Wait For You, came out last year on Sweat It Out, putting her vocals and production talent at centre stage. Her crisp, hooky take on house is already catching on in the US, where she’s set to play one of the world’s biggest dance festivals, EDC Las Vegas.
Play this track: It has to be her solo breakout, Wait For You.
Coming out of Sydney, Enschway’s punchy productions have won over a legion of fans online. He proved his clout with last year’s Friendschway Vol. 2 EP, which featured collaborations with fellow rising stars Kuren, Crystalize, graves and O5CAR.
Enschway also has a knack for remixes, with the likes of Slumberjack and Ookay tapping his talents. The producer’s gig prospects are looking up too, landing a spot on this year’s Splendour In The Grass line-up.
Play this track: Enschway stays busy, so there’s a lot a choice. His recent flip of RL Grime’s Reims alongside LUUDE captures his style, with surprising gear shifts and some potent drops.
Sydneysider Seduna is one of the producers to watch in the city’s ever-widening lo-fi/ambient electronic scene. When she’s not crafting delicate, evocative sounds, the producer and DJ also hosts the weekly FBi Radio segment Glitches.
Seduna (who wryly calls her style “sad gal soundz”) has made several standout compositions so far, including &&&& UP and coy, both of which cruise by in under three minutes. She’s also a big fan of the animated series Samurai Jack, which inspired her killer recent production of the same name. If you dig the likes of Maribou State, Weval and Seekae (all are key influences on Seduna), you’re going to enjoy riding these sounds.
Play this track: Even if you’re not up on the animated series that inspired it, there’s a lot to enjoy in Seduna’s tribute to Samurai Jack.
With a sound that channels the best days of Sydney summer, the solo work of True Vibenation band member Klue continues to turn heads. Channelling heroes like Fat Freddy’s Drop, Bonobo and Kaytranada, Klue’s songs combine warm bass, bright two-step rhythms and heartfelt vocals.
The vibes are strong on the producer’s most recent single, Lifted, as well as his remix of Pnau’s comeback anthem Chameleon, which smartly flips the original while preserving its sense of fun. In addition to his remixes for PACES and Sticky Fingers, it was Klue’s debut EP Daybreak that really confirmed his standalone talent.
Play this track: Klue’s various skills come together vividly on Daybreak closer My Friend.
In a recent Facebook post, JCAL told his followers to stay tuned as “there’s a lot happening”. That’s certainly true. The emerging Perth beatmaker is juggling a range of projects, primarily working as a producer with other artists.
JCAL memorably teamed up with Perth hip-hop artist Ziggy Ramo on the incisive Black Face, and they’re back together on Ziggy’s brand new one, Same Script. JCAL is also promising a solo project later this year, and it’s guaranteed to be worth the wait.
Play this track: Definitely Come Up, his 2017 single with Chiseko and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. With production this tight, rappers should be lining up to work with JCAL.
Sydney multi-instrumentalist and Ableton whiz Josh Panakera Molony has built a distinctive musical identity as Setwun. Drawing on the tactile recording techniques of past decades, his output is languid and full of feeling.
Setwun has won over music heads with his hazy, soulful originals and select remixes for friends 30/70 and Yum Yum. You can also see him live around Sydney, where he’s shared bills with the likes of Onra and Tall Black Guy. Then there are his other projects, which include the Letabruthaknow alias and his silky work alongside singer-songwriter Nick Hill.
Play this track: Sydney tastemakers Ben Fester and Simon Caldwell have both given Setwun a radio push, and this stripped-down number shows you why.
Kinder is the DJ project of two sisters from Maitland, NSW, who’ve come a long way from DJing their friends’ house parties in high school. The duo has made a strong impression on festivals around Australia, including this year’s Groovin’ The Moo tour (which of course hits their hometown).
Buoyed by their GTM success, Kinder is travelling around the country right now, playing club shows and even Splendour In The Grass. Their sets are rooted in house music, ranging from bright and bouncy to techy and bass-driven. The sisters are reportedly working on an EP for a 2017 release, and we expect it’ll match the vibrancy of their DJ sets.
Play this track: While we wait for original Kinder productions, take a listen to the duo’s bumping triple j Friday Mix from back in April.
Max Baines, AKA Spire, typifies the creative energy in Perth right now. While WA is renowned as a hotbed for heavyweight bass music, Spire is carving out a different niche with his dreamy, slow-burning tracks like Artesian and Patience.
The producer is also part of the buzzed-about Soda Island collective, with his contributions Reverie (featuring FAWNA), Petal Falls and Girls headed for one million cumulative plays. Then there are his off-the-cuff experiments, like flipping Brandy’s R&B classic I Wanna Be Down into a slinky house jam.
Play this track: Submerge yourself in Artesian, a perfect introduction to Spire’s good vibes.
#10 Oriental Cravings
Oriental Cravings is the fast-rising project of two Perth producers, Quincy and Yujin, who like to have fun with their Asian identities. (As per their Facebook bio: “If you’re craving some sweet and sour beats and spicy bangers, you’re in the right place.”)
Recent spicy bangers from the duo include their remix of Zedd and Alessia Cara’s hit Stay and the collaboration with fellow one-to-watch AXEN, Falling 4 You (which earned props from the Run The Trap blog). Meanwhile, their team-up with vocalist LUNA MAY on the future bass gem Nomad showcases the different shades to their sound.
Play this track: Falling 4 U with AXEN, which was recently played by The Aston Shuffle on their triple j radio show, Friday Night Shuffle.
Main image: Kinder/Facebook
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