Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Five EDM Artists That Will Own 2014

Like it or not, electronic dance music (commonly abbreviated as EDM) is everywhere these days. The bleeps, boops, and beats that were previously confined to drug-fueled underground warehouse parties and action movies about hackers and/or robots have, in recent years, risen to extreme prominence. Nearly all major festivals devote a portion of their lineup to big-name DJs and producers, while some of the most attended fests in the world are primarily if not completely electronic. Las Vegas is investing millions of dollars into bringing top-level DJs to their various night clubs (not to mention the annual Electric Daisy Carnival held there, which became the largest electronic music event in the world when they drew 345,000 attendees in 2013). We even had a few major EDM stars crack the Top 40 this year; I mean, seriously, how many days have you gone without hearing Avicii's "Wake Me Up" or Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" on the radio?

So now that EDM has firmly cemented itself into the mainstream, what's next? Well, the genre's newfound popularity will inevitably lead to the rise of new stars as tastes evolve and change. Here's a few we think you should keep your eye on in 2014 as they crank out dancefloor hits and see their names added to more and more festival lineups. And who knows: by this time next year, you might even be hearing them on the radio as you drive to work.

5. Henry Fong
One of the more well-known rising stars in EDM is LA/Orlando based Henry Fong. He's already had songs released on such big-name labels as Skrillex's OWSLA Records, Diplo's Mad Decent label, Spinnin' Records, and many more. He's also shared the stage with big name artists like Avicii, Above & Beyond, Bingo Players, and countless others. It's already gearing up to be a busy year for Fong; he's currently touring the US and has a few dates supporting Dada Life, as well as a slot on Crush Fest, the popular Valtntine's Day massive in Phoenix.

DJ MAKJ (real name Mackenzie Johnson) first started to DJ at the age of 15, while he was a professional race car driver in China. No, I didn't make any of that up. Within two years, MAKJ was back in the USA receiving training from the late and great DJ AM, which led to getting booked at top-level venues all across the country. Johnson spent a large part of 2013 on the road with the Bingo Players' Rattle & Roll Tour (and, in my personal opinion, almost stole the show) and ended his year with a special New Year's Eve collaboration with Hardwell, who was recently ranked the #1 DJ in the world by DJ Magazine. He's currently touring Europe and has just announced that a North American headlining tour is soon to follow, not to mention the fact that he was recently included on Coachella's 2014 lineup. 

3. Jacuzzi
Perhaps the fastest growing subgenre of EDM as of late has been trap, drum-heavy beats that draw influence from the "dirty South" hip-hop popularized by artists like Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka. Some within the EDM community have already started complaining that trap is being done to death. However, there will always be someone innovating in any given genre, and when it comes to trap that man is Jacuzzi. Ryan York, based in Honolulu, Hawaii released his "Mizu" EP at the tail-end of 2013 and it was considered by many (myself included) to be the best trap release of the year. These five spacey, bass-y, hard-hitting tunes seemed unlike anything that had been done in the genre beforehand. Jacuzzi has since announced that he's working on another EP entitled "Seppuku" with another brilliant experimental trap artist, Mr. Carmack, so keep your ears peeled for that in 2014 or you'll be missing something beautiful.

Vegas-based duo CAKED UP has received a lot of attention recently for their loud, energetic remixes of popular songs, but don't write them off as a gimmick just yet. A few months ago, the group (comprised of DJs Oscar Wylde and Vegas Banger) released their "FUX WIT IT" EP and the industry took notice. They've toured extensively since and will soon be hitting the road with acclaimed electro-saxophone act Big Gigantic. CAKED UP is constantly pumping out new material and show no signs of slowing down, so expect to hear lots more from them in the coming months.

1. DJ Snake
You know you're doing well for yourself when the title of one of your songs becomes the catchphrase of an entire subculture, and though he's already a fairly established name within the EDM scene, it looks like DJ Snake has nowhere to go but up. The young Parisian, real name William Grigahcine, got his start producing for Lady Gaga on her album "Born This Way" in 2011 and continued to work with her on her newest release "ARTPOP." However, when he wasn't busy with that massive responsibility, he somehow found time to produce three of the most recognizable tracks of 2013. "Bird Machine", a collaboration with fellow Frenchmen Alesia, was played in just about every festival trap set in the past year as was his spaced-out remix of AlunaGeorge's "You Know You Like It" (which was hands-down my pick for Track of the Year). After getting well-deserved attention from these, he went on to make what will likely be his most lasting hit - club banger "Turn Down For What", which quickly became a motto for ravers everywhere. With that in mind, expect to see DJ Snake coming to a festival near you; he's already been added to Wakarusa and EDC Mexico and is expected to do a North American tour this summer.

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