Meet 10 of the Best Underground Drum & Bass Acts in Asia
Meet 10 of the Best Underground Drum & Bass Acts in AsiaJanuary 15, 2021
Sending unrelenting bass vibrations throughout the Eastern hemisphere, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen-based label and party series, Unchained Asia, has quickly established itself as the region’s top drum & bass outfit. They have helped nurture China’s explosive new interest in D&B and halftime music, recruiting a superb cast of international and local producers to release under the Unchained banner.
“It’s an exhilarating time now in Asia,” Daniel says. “After pushing for years in South China, our monthly events are doing well with locals making up 90 percent of the crowd — skanking and vibing proper! All this great talent is beginning to emerge also, and it’s only the start! Here are some of the names that you should be checking out when it comes to Asian drum & bass.”
The first-ever mainland Chinese artist to release on Unchained and also the first to have a track out on Hospital Records, Radiax is a versatile talent in his music production, easily mastering any new sound or idea he tries out. We always look forward to listening to his WIPs and demos because we know it will always be of the best quality. On top of that, Radiax is a great DJ with a fabulous stage presence. The two new demos we have been sitting on by him are incredible. He’s finished off his second EP for us — slated for release on January 22 as a Beatport Exclusive. Don’t sleep on it!
Coming from Osaka, Japan, and only 20 years old, Fetus is a promising young talent with the tunes to back it up — some of the tracks he has sent us are crazy good, tough and upbeat bangers one and all. Fetus has already been building a repertoire of releases over the last few years with different labels and getting his name out there, refining his music production along the way. We were properly introduced to him through the recent Unchained remix competition, in which he placed third. Fetus is currently working on his first full EP for Unchained. Expect big things from this young lad!
Hong Kong’s Gyrofield is a name that has been floating around the D&B community with excitement for the whole of 2020, and for a good reason. She first blew our ears away with her debut EP on Overview containing a set of innovative tracks that completely shook the scene with its fresh sounds. Then not long ago, she dropped an insane EP on mau5trap that is packed with incredible sound design and attention to the tiniest of details. Gyrofield’s intricacy and originality in her music production are so refreshing for the scene. She is a truly magnificent talent with an inspiring future ahead of her.
3ASiC is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to music production, and with that knowledge, he has developed his own unique sound. “Lorentz,” off our Year Of The Rat VA, is a fan favorite and drives the dancefloor mad every single time it gets dropped. His remix of HØST’s tune “Valhalla” off our The Remixes LP has also done some real damage, showcasing one of his signature styles that can be likened to a “call to arms” anthem. Being a multifaceted artist, he also produces music in several genres beyond bass music and works for Native Instruments. A prodigy for underground music in China!
Another great and young talent coming out of Japan who has had an incredible year. Over the last 12 months, he’s pushed out releases on Hospital Records, RAM, Viper, Soulvent, and Skankandbass. His production styles range from the upbeat, euphoric, and lush liquid to the heavier and more in-your-face sounds of D&B, all of which are crafted to perfection. He is smashing it and showing no signs of slowing down with new releases on the regular, so expect a lot from Mountain!
Kray is a fresh talent coming out of Hong Kong that is meticulous in his music production and keeps a relatively low-profile, even though his ridiculous dance floor-oriented tunes tell a different story. He recently had a banger drop on Calculon’s Shoot Recordings and another on Eloisa Records, but Kray has many quality tunes that have yet to see the light of day — something that will be changing soon. He has also made this monstrous bootleg of the “Ghost in the Shell” theme song, which gets the crowd’s craziest reaction.
Kiat is a pioneer of the drum & bass scene in Singapore who has been championing the sound for almost two decades. Kiat is also the first Singaporean artist to be signed to the legendary Metalheadz. He has released some of the top D&B labels globally, such as Function, Dispatch Recordings, Hospital Records, Soul:R, and more. Kiat is a real heavyweight when it comes to drum & bass in Asia, staying true to the gritty and tough industrial vibes he has been mastering over the years in his music production, a contrasting move against a backdrop of the not-so-gritty Singapore.
A dedicated institution for Hong Kong drum & bass, Magnetic Soul has been promoting D&B events for 15 years. This trio has brought so many legends to Hong Kong, importing names like LTJ Bukem, Ed Rush & Optical, Alix Perez, dBridge, and more. They released their debut album. The Pressure, on Scott Allen’s LA-based label Soul Deep Recordings last year, as well as a follow-up EP called Mixology. They also contributed a track to SUV’s Ramp Up the NHS: The Album Volume 2, a charity compilation that came out in June to support the UK national health service.
DJ FU & LOVELY
A notorious duo in the drum & bass community of Hong Kong, these two have been bringing extra heat lately with their sick collaborations released on UK-based label, Guidance, along with the multiple nights they have been running on the regular these past few years. They both share a similar path, having lived in the UK before relocating to Hong Kong but have always been active in the D&B scene; DJ Fu himself has been into DJing and turntablism for well over a decade. Together with Lovely as a pair, they are of great value and add extra flavor to the local D&B scene, which is very refreshing to see.
This list cannot exist without Makoto — an absolute hero in drum & bass. His music has been infecting ears since the ’90s when LTJ Bukem’s Good Looking Records first signed him. For a long time, he was flying the flag solo out here in Asia on his own, pioneering the jazzy, funky, and soulful side of D&B while touring around the world to headline at shows and music festivals. He recently had two big album releases on Hospital Records, adding to his extensive musical repertoire and achievements list. Makoto is a real don of drum & bass music — one for the history books!