At the end of each year, certified dance music tastemaker DAVE RUBY HOWE gives us his hot tips for the emerging local producers set to dominate the year ahead. In previous years, he’s predicted the ascendance of superstars like What So Not, Alison Wonderland and Wave Racer, as well as fast-risers like Golden Features, George Maple, Kilter and Carmada; read on and get the jump on the artists whose SoundClouds you’ll be stalking in the 12 months ahead.
What do you get when you pair up two percussionists with an unscratchable itch for tinkering with new equipment? You get Feels, the Perth duo of Elise Reitze and Rosie Taylor, who together are making some wonderfully frenetic and eclectic electronic music. Though they’ve only been releasing stuff for the last year, it’s been pretty enchanting stuff and you get the feeling these two are onto something good.
We don’t expect Ninajirachi to achieve total world domination in 2017, given she’ll still be in high school next year. Nonetheless, Gosford-based producer Nina Wilson is a worthwhile inclusion on this list for the consistency she’s shown in this past year, with a steady output of intelligent and quirky electronic tunes that have caused the right ripples across the web. If she’s been this good before even turning 17, imagine the potential that lies ahead.
Brisbane’s Golden Vessel has been sculpting his guns as studio head since his mid-teens, so much so that his 2016 EP Before Sleep was six tracks of pure flex mode. An avid collaborator, GV has already worked with local legends like Woodes, MTNS and Lastlings, nabbed the support slot for Willow Beats, and backed up successful trips to Bigsound and EMCPLAY with a freshly inked record deal that’ll keep him on the up and up (and up) for 2017.
You’d probably feel like the best thing since three ply dunny roll if you got the chance to remix dance titan Zhu as a young producer. That’s exactly what Sydney producer Nick Frost – who just goes by Frost – got to do earlier in 2016 with a nodding deep house rework of Automatic from Zhu and AlunaGeorge. But that was just a appetiser for what Frost had to offer this year, with the producer’s self-titled EP keeping things dark, deep and soulful. Here’s hoping we get more of the same in 2017.
Though they might not have been aware of it at the time, fans listening to Alison Wonderland’s 2015 album Run would’ve heard the handy-work of Antonia Gauci on that record, with the Sydney artist lending her engineering talents to the LP.
With a formidable studio resume I’m pretty excited that we’re now hearing some of Antonia’s own solo work under the guise of Leftenent. The project’s debut tune Control operates on chilly electronic whirs, before a warm gust comes in during the chorus. Also worth checking out is Antonia’s darker synthwave stuff in the trio simply called Gauci.
It was pretty sick that Netflix just up and did a sequel to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, right? Well now we have the perfect soundtrack for when the streaming giant decides to blend mysticism and martial arts with a dystopian, tech-dominated future for the inevitable follow up set in 2072.
Sydney DJ and producer SINIQ throws down with metallic textures on his trap tracks – and does so with alarming frequency, this guy just doesn’t stop working! Fittingly (for me and this analogy), SINIQ’s discordant thrusts are done strangely elegantly and you could imagine some old school warriors slicing the heads off some robots in bewildering slow motion to something like Luminary.
The bloodline of new Melbourne act Kult Kyss goes back to their previous incarnation as dark synth pop duo DEJA. In their time as DEJA members, Rromarin and Haxx popped out a slew of tasty tunes and played festivals like Listen Out and Beyond The Valley – but in bunkering down in the studio to record an album the duo discovered a new direction and gave birth to Kult Kyss. On their debut tune under the new guise, Get Up Boy, the pair have dialled up the darkness and drama by indulging in European influences like The Knife and Booka Shade.
Sydney up and comer Piecey – the moniker of Patrick Carroll – comes with a venerable list of influences like Stimming, Kollektive Turmstrasse, and Shigeto. As such he’s no stranger to turning bibs and bobs or extraneous field recordings into throbbing and nodding cuts like Junust and Luck. The former of those tracks has a real sinkhole effect, swallowing up the listener and everything around them.
Perth dude Fvturistic is making enough of a racket to shake an entire room, which works out pretty well for the fella as making whole rooms move to the sound of this music is written on the cards for his, um, fvture. Though his biggest trump card to date might be a hard bass rewiring of Desiigner’s meme-hit Panda, he’s attracted the attention of the right people with Kid Kenobi and Dutch duo Moski dropping his tracks into their mixes in 2016.
With all due respect to Tiber, but I can only imagine stepping into his studio would be like the producer’s version of an episode of Hoarders, with spools of cables and countless harddrives strewn across the floor. And like an episode of Hoarders, Tiber would attest that he knew where everything was. My point being that this guy’s output is crazy and his mind is overflowing with good ideas. I’m not alone in thinking that either, with Moonbase Commander recruiting the Geelong producer to his freshly minted Trench Records label.
I’m going to buck the formula that I’ve been running with while introducing these artists to you – y’know, the one where I avidly talk them up, reference a song of theirs that I think is shit hot, throw in a factoid like who they collab with and maybe wrap it all up with a dash of wit if I’m lucky?
Nah, this time I’ll just let the song convince you all on its own. Go on, listen to Darkside by Brisbane newcomer Austen and get wrapped up in the web that she’s weaving. Keep in mind this is only Austen’s second release and already she’s been working with the likes of Kuren and Andrei Eremin (producer behind stuff for Kucka, Ta-ku, Oscar Key Sung) and, ah shit I’m doing it again. Just listen to it and you’ll get it.
New Sydney act The Tapes burst straight out of the blocks in 2016 with a debut self-titled EP featuring slickly polished tunes that have both a buzzing electronic edge and an organically live feel to ‘em. At All shows an emotional strength that screams crossover potential, while second single You Know It’s Real glimmers smartly. It’s a very well realised set of songs, which makes sense when you discover that the creative pair behind The Tapes consists of Andrew Grant of La Mar and Mickey Kojack. Together they’re onto something pretty spesh.
Let’s clear two things up before we move ahead: firstly, though he plays under the name London Topaz, this guy is not from the UK but actually just good ol’ Melbourne. Yeah, Melbourne Topaz doesn’t have that same ring to it, eh? Secondly he is not, as far as I know, the living embodiment of a gemstone.
But nonetheless he proved mightily valuable as a member of the Stoney Roads Recs family this year upon the release of his deep house journey tune Let You Go. That tune had the kind of moody and soulful vocal to touch an angsty millennial’s heart and a slick deep groove to keep purists moving.
Ask pretty much any Melbourne electronic artist who they’re most juiced about at the moment and hand over fist they’ll come back with HABITS, the local twosome who’re making, in their words, “sad goth party jams”.
In songs like Ether and Reverend Mother, duo of Magda and Mohini confront with some abrasive build-ups and a pattern for shapeshifting vocals that twist and curl around your headphones. They’ve been working with like-minded peers in Melbourne like Martin King, SHOUSE and friendships, and bagged the Peaches support slot.
Earlier in the year 18 year old Bondi-via-Byron producer Ford Miskin told ITM that when he first heard Flume at the age of 15 he was inspired to get into electronic music. Up ’till then the youngster had been dead into Chopin, but he’s since spent time cutting his teeth in the studio at home and in LA and releasing a steady stream of rippers. The only way is up for this guy, so mind your necks don’t get sore from watching his rise.
Time to call it now: Zeke Beats is about to own 2017. The certified bass fiend stepped up his game in 2016 with his Meltdown EP through London’s Terrorhythm label, a collection of hard-hitting tunes that pops eardrums and eyeballs with indiscriminate zeal. It’s the sort of platform that this dude can totally launch off of in the coming year.
Sydney solo producer and DJ Paris Forscutt is quickly carving out her own space amongst the local scene as Made In Paris, and it’s on the back of some canny graft and hustle as well as some stand out productions. Take for instance 2016’s two-tracker release of You’re Wrong / Mystic Path, which both show off Paris’ gifts for creating immersive techno tunes that pool around your ears like quicksand until you’re stuck smashing that MF repeat button.
This new duo – who are split between Sydney and Canberra – have been merging pop sensibilities with the high energy vibes of club music since dropping their debut tune So Good earlier in 2016. That one and its even better follow up When I Get To The Club came with the endorsement of vaunted Sydney community Sidechains, not to mention they earned Hi Life a spot on the bill for SOPHIE’s only Australian sideshow on the Flume tour. Yep, it looks like the next year is nicely set up for Hi Life to rain down sugary sprinkles and sweet hooks on us all.
After serving up some high quality tunes over the last year – suss out the single This Girl and Purple Heart – it was exciting to see Sydney producer MUTO round off the year with a double A-Side release that seemed to break with the accepted convention of having a vocal feature. Through The Fog and Lighter show what this Northern Beaches-bred guy is capable of as MUTO alternates between undulating waves of colourful textures and mint crisp beats.
There’s a good chance if you’ve read some of my writing over the last couple of years, you’ve already caught me excitedly praising Melbourne’s Fortunes. Hell, anyone I’ve even talked to in that time would’ve received an earful of the same. I love these guys so much.
I think 2017 might be the year that things come to fruition for this Melbourne duo and here’s why: after releasing their killer Jacket EP the duo of Conor McCabe and Barnaby Matthews got picked up by the mighty Future Classic star-making machine. ’501’s is the first taste of an upcoming release on the label and it’s all slinky and seductive, with Conor’s crystal harmonies and Barnaby dropping in a wailing, G-Funk keyboard line to boot.
In the space of a year Sydney producer Swindail has quickly become the go-to-guy if you’re in need of a sick remix. The proof’s right there in the serves of pudding he’s dished up recently, including reworking Seekae’s Turbine Blue into a chintzy keyboard ditty, and teaming up with Cosmo’s Midnight to remix US rapper GoldLink. Apart from an EP in 2015 and a couple of singles this year, Swindail’s originals output has been outshone by those fiery remixes, but there’s big things in the pipeline that’ll make 2017 the year of Swindail.
The warm and dry climate that cloaks parts of Australia all year long makes it possible for heat-seekers to chase an endless summer around these parts, so it’s pretty fitting that we’ve got a new Australian producer to provide the ideal soundtrack to doing just that. Sydney via Wollongong solo artist Nyxen has been specialising in tropically infused house tunes for the last year or so, with key singles Take You and the frothy Running showcasing a young artist with a keen ear and musicality to take this the distance.
There’s a fair case to say that Kuren could’ve been included on this same list last year, given how high his star has skyrocketed throughout 2016.
The youngster from regional NSW town Hillston has been flexing big time since the release of his killer single Home featuring American vocalist Ben Alessi off the Tesseract EP, which landed him on a live tour around the country supporting fellow electronic prodigy Just A Gent. So if the evidence of this year is anything to go by, then there’s every chance that 2017 is going to take Kuren to a whole new level.
It was a bummer for punters going to the 2016 EMCPLAY mini-festival that Alice Ivy had to drop out late in the game, but it speaks to her party-first approach to performance that it was due to breaking her leg after playing back-to-back festival spots around Melbourne.
Anyone who’s caught an Alice Ivy show would’ve seen her pogo around a stage, frantically switching between duties on guitar, singing and slamming her drum pad and other miscellaneous gear to bring her joyful, sample-laden hip-hop and electronica to life. Barring anymore performance-related injuries, you can expect to see a lot more of Alice Ivy in the next calendar year.
Lemme just detail the laundry list of bucket-list worthy things that Enschway has already crossed off before hitting his 20s: amass streams in the millions on his Soundcloud, tour overseas with his heroes Slumberjack, collab with fellow weapons like Graves, Luude and Havok Roth, start working with the same guy that manages Golden Features, oh and don’t let me forget that he’s just released an EP on Sweat It Out (the same label that’s home to RUFUS, What So Not, etc).
Big stuff, right? It’s only just the start for Nic Schweighoffer, aka Enschway, so we cannot bloody wait to see what he knocks off his list in 2017.