25 trail-blazing producers set to rule the season
For one weekend back in March, Miami’s Bayfront Park became a testing ground for the dance tracks set to light up the 2014 season. Wherever you roamed at Ultra Music Festival – or whatever you watched on the live stream, if you were tuning in from here in Australia – certain anthems were inescapable. After all, for most DJs on the Ultra line-up, the festival’s a chance to debut new material for a huge crowd, and hopefully reach thousands more on the live stream.
While superstars like Hardwell, Tiesto, Afrojack and Kaskade brought their own ‘first plays’ to Bayfront Park, it was the handiwork of lesser-known producers that really turned heads. Whether it was Jack U dropping Elliphant’s Revolusion on the Main Stage or What So Not ruling sets at the bass arena, the biggest moments didn’t just come from the biggest names.
So which tracks will be turning up time and time again on your Shazam this festival season? In this feature, we count down 25 hotly-tipped producers making the music that’s set to rule this winter, from underground house to speaker-shaking trap to the most bombastic main stage gear. Most of the acts here will be getting heavy play in sets over the Northern summer, while others will keep heating local dancefloors with their output. Listen out for their handiwork in the sets of your favourite DJs. [Article image by Rukes]
It came as little surprise to see Elliphant opening shows for M.I.A. on the latter’s recent Canadian tour, with both firebrands sharing a preference for eclectic, shapeshifting electronic production. Following a self-titled EP in 2013, Elliphant’s latest release Look Like You Love It dropped recently via Diplo’s Mad Decent imprint, with the label boss himself guesting on production alongside Skrillex, Dave Sitek and pop queen-maker Dr. Luke.
THE TRACK YOU’LL KEEP HEARING: When Diplo and Skrillex (in full Jack U mode) dropped Elliphant’s rousing Revolusion at Ultra Music Festival, it seemed like a naturally bombastic setting for the tune, jammed as it was between bouncing hits from Douster, DJ Fresh and Bingo Players. Don’t be surprised if you’re bombarded with this one as a staple of big party sets this season.
24. Lane 8
One of Anjunadeep’s newest darlings is Leipzig-based artist Dan Goldstein, better known as Lane 8. The producer has been consistent with his output of emotive, soul-infused deep house, and has French Express cornerstone Perseus to thank for helping jump-start his career. After spontaneously sending him Don’t Want You Back in 2012, Perseus put him on The Magician’s radar, securing a spot in the tracklist of his Magic Tape 23.
Now, Lane 8 is very much in demand, with a slew of dance floor-moving releases and remixes to his name that have earned him play from DJs like Mark Farina, Above & Beyond and Pete Tong. He’s just about to finish up a big North American tour, which should ensure that we’ll be hearing a lot more of Lane 8 in the future.
THE TRACK YOU’LL KEEP HEARING: After a year of waiting, Lane 8 is finally releasing the much-beloved tune Every Night to the world. Dreamy synths, euphoric vocal samples and a deep, moody bassline make this mellow track a top candidate for after-hours sunrise sets.
23. Detroit Swindle
Following a string of successful EPs, a North American debut and the well-received release of their debut album, Boxed Out, 2014 looks to be Detroit Swindle’s biggest year yet. The duo, Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets of Amsterdam, are commanding dancefloors worldwide with their infectious, feel-good music.
Though they often fall under the house umbrella, no style is off-limits, thanks to the pair’s expansive music interests and Dales’ background as a hip-hop DJ. They find inspiration in disco, Motown and everything in between, made evident in tracks like early favourite The Wrap Around, as well as That Freak Stuff, and For The Love Of… Their versatility plays well to the dancefloor, with songs getting airplay from a wide range of DJs from deep house pioneer Kerri Chandler to new Spinnin’ Records recruit Oliver Heldens.
THE TRACK YOU’LL KEEP HEARING: Me, Myself & You, a cut off the debut album: sultry deep house laced with alluring vocal samples; perfect vibes to transport you back to summer.
You’d be hard pressed to find a couple of guys better at turning a song – any song, it seems – into a dancefloor anthem in the space of an edit. But wordlife, the project of Sydney’s Adam Bozzetto & Kato, have proven there’s not a track they can’t remix. In the last year alone, the pair have put their touch on tunes from RUFUS, The Presets, Crooked Colours, Yolanda Be Cool, Anna Lunoe and more, and the end result’s consistently great. So, DJs: next time you’re searching for a new edit to drop, have a dig through the wordlife Soundcloud page.
THE TRACK YOU’LL KEEP HEARING: For all our talk of their remixes, it’s perhaps their original track Club Strobe, released on local label Motorik!, that will be on the highest rotation in 2014. If you want more, wordlife’s 2013 single Breakthrough hasn’t done its dash yet, either.
21. Max Graef
At just 21 years old, Max Graef is already being hailed by many as the future of house music. The Berlin-born producer has been rising quickly up the ranks of the underground through a steady string of releases showcasing his raw talent and extensive music knowledge.
Some of the many early production highlights in Graef’s blooming career include Pedro and Ignorance is Bliss, in addition to releases on his Box Aus Holz imprint, which highlights more experimental leanings. Rivers of the Red Planet, his debut album released just last month, received rave reviews from musicians and critics alike for its impeccable musicianship. With so much creative potential bubbling madly beneath the surface, we can’t wait to see what Max Graef does next.
THE TRACK YOU’LL KEEP HEARING: Dedicated house heads are likely already familiar with NÂ°5, off the Bummse EP. Warm to the ears with its soulful, syrupy vocal snippets, the track is swathed in a filmy nostalgia that makes it feel like you’re dusting off an old, worn record. If you know where to look, NÂ°5 will be your sweet reward on the dance floor.