John Summit returns to Defected for the first time since his 2020 breakout hit.
Beatport’s best-selling artist of 2021, John Summit, returns to Beatport’s number one house music label, Defected, for his latest hit, “La Danza.”
The Chicago star’s new single follows a vast run of releases over the past few months, including “Human” (feat. Echoes) on FFRR, his collaborative tune with Sofi Tukker “Sun Came Up,” his remix of Purple Disco Machine’s “Dopamine,” and more.
With “La Danza,” Summit brings a high-spirited, Latin-infused vibe that incorporates his trademark infectious groove along with red-hot vocals and a butt-shaking bassline.
The German techno don joins with one of the scene’s most promising young stars for a four-track analogue escapade on Klockworks.
Berlin dance floor staple and longtime Berghain resident Ben Klock has recruited the help of one of his city’s most promising up-and-coming techno talents, Fadi Mohem, to collaborate on a new collaborative EP, Klockworks 34.
The four-track EP is Ben Klock’s first new record of 2022 and marks the first time in five years that he will be dropping original music on his storied label since Klockworks 20. This is Fadi Mohem’s second appearance on Ben Klock’s imprint, following his bewildering Klockworks 27 EP.
Arranged solely with analogue machines, the classic techno sound found on the pair’s new EP keeps it locked tight with a specific focus on groove and reduction, making each tune a formidable tool for high-powered dance floor moments. Listen below.
One of Drumcode’s most iconic tunes gets a joint remix treatment from one of its brightest young stars and the label head himself.
Released in 2014, Italian artist Sam Paganini‘s track “Rave” — taken off his sophomore album Satellite — is one of Drumcode‘s most successful releases, hitting upwards of 100 million streams with immense dance floor support from techno heavyweights worldwide.
Eight years later, Drumcode boss Adam Beyer has teamed up with label staple Layton Giordani to remix this massive tune. Kitted out with careening drums and elastic synth arrangements, this ready-for-battle remix sees the duo crank up the original tune’s BPM and bring a high-octane boost to the track’s iconic riff. Listen below.
“When I signed Sam Paganini’s ‘Satellite’ album back in early 2014, I quickly realised that the track’ Rave’ was going to be a defining record for Drumcode,” says Adam Beyer. “Remixing a track of this magnitude was always going to be a delicate operation. Layton and I agreed that we wanted to keep as much of the original magic and signature ingredients as possible while administering a solid injection of 2022 energy and punch. It’s a respectful refresh of this timeless record, and it’s been a huge peak time moment in all of my post-pandemic shows.”
Layton Giordani adds: “This will be the remix I’ll be most proud of, probably for the rest of my life. It connects my younger self to where it all began and to the artist I’ve become today. It’s really an exciting new chapter in my relationship with Drumcode.”
We catch up with Dutch DJ and producer Chris Stussy, who’ll be releasing his first solo EP on his own Up The Stuss record label since 2020.
When it comes to deep house, few and far between have routed the scene quite like Chris Stussy. The Dutch artist’s smart, sinuous, and tripped-out tracks have gained an unquestionable reputation as some of house music’s best-selling and most reliable dance floor weapons over the past few years. He started his production journey in 2015 with releases on Nervous, Large Music, Inner City Records, and PIV Records, where he previously worked as the label’s A&R — a smashing success of an imprint that first signaled Stussy’s keen ear to influential house purveyors worldwide.
Since then, he’s upped his game significantly with an onslaught of sleepless tours and exceptional festival performances that have brought him to over 20 countries. With 30 various singles and EPs under his belt, along with remixes for the likes of Kerri Chandler and Mark Farina, his most recent efforts see him focused on his Up The Stuss imprint, which recently saw the release of his Mysteries of the UniverseEP. A follow-up from last year’s wildly successful joint release with S.A.M., Get Together EP, Stussy’s Mysteries of the Universe is his first solo release on his esteemed label, which first launched in late 2020.
Packed with prattling synthscapes, punchy rhythms, intergalactic melodies, vocoded incantations, and more, Mysteries of the Universe is a thriving four-track package of attentive deep house commotion. To mark the release of this latest EP, we caught up with Stussy to learn more about his dance floor origins, the sonic framework behind his Up The Stuss imprint, his plans for the summer, and more.
Hey Chris! Thanks for joining us. How was the first half of your 2022?
I couldn’t have wished for a better start, to be honest. I’ve had so many great shows in the last couple of months. I found and made loads of new music and could test the new tracks out, which felt amazing to do in different continents and on various sound systems.
You’ve had numerous gigs booked worldwide this year, from South America to the US and all over Europe. What have been some of the main highlights from your travels so far?
To be travelling to North and South America numerous times already in the past six months has been nothing but amazing. Club Space in Miami was one of the highlights for me in the USA. Also, LA Sound Nightclub was unreal, and alongside that comes the scenery around those cities (Los Angeles and Miami).
I like to take photos during my travels, and this experience next to my shows made the total experience even better. It made me look at the cities differently, and it’s also an excellent way to discover them. Also, in South America, I have great memories of Chile.
My friends from 5unset events/the klan invited me for two great shows there, and the crowd there is just another level. The energy they have during an entire set is just incredible. There have been too many good moments, to be honest, and I could write many more things about other countries like Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil, but I would need a few pages!
How and when did you first get interested in DJing and producing? Which came first?
I was 15, and a friend of mine had this DJ controller called Hercules with a laptop and a bunch of tunes he was mixing with Virtual DJ on his birthday. Since it was his birthday, he couldn’t be behind the decks all day, so he said “bro, jump on and play some stuff”. I didn’t know how it all worked, but I kept playing for the entire day.
From that moment on, I just knew I loved it. I wanted to learn everything. I bought a little controller myself, and the rest is history. When I was 17 or 18, I started to mess around with Fruity Loops, so definitely DJing came before making music, but it all went very natural, to be honest. I began by using loads of loops and combining stuff together.
There weren’t many tutorials back then, so I had to freestyle it all by myself as none of my friends at the time were producing any music. It was a pretty tricky process for me, but I kept going as I was just so intrigued by the entire process of making music and being different from others. That intrigue is what kept me going every day. I had periods (let’s say the first three or four years) where nothing really worked for me, but I learned the basics, and eventually, some releases came out of it. That’s where things picked up for me a little bit.
How have things been going for your Up The Stuss imprint since it launched in November of 2020? What are your plans for the label moving forward?
Since launching the label, everything has been great. The amount of support everyone has given the label is so good to see. All my friends who have contributed with an EP have meant so much to me, and to see the sound of the label shaped little by little is something very exciting for me personally.
Looking forward, I’m always on the hunt for new artists who I think do something different. I’m looking for music and artists that have their own unique style. Since making music is much more accessible than a few years ago, it’s definitely easier to start, but it’s also harder to stand out with your own sound.
What are three words you would use to describe your label’s sound?
Diverse, Dancefloor, Storytelling.
What is the story behind the label’s overall aesthetic direction (logo, artwork, etc.)?
Up The Stuss was made on the dance floor in Sydney, Australia. I was playing there, and a few people came up and said “up the stuss” to me, meaning they were looking forward to my set. It then turned out to be a hashtag on the Identification of Music group on Facebook, where people search for track IDs, and after a few months I thought “this is the label’s name, done!”
The logo came from the idea of two arrows pointing upwards. We had several ideas, but the designer who we trusted nailed the logo, in my opinion. The artwork for the EPs are photos of buildings or other objects; feel free to use your imagination on how you picture them. It follows the same pointing direction as the logo.
I worked with some photographers on the first batch of releases, and now on the road while traveling. I’m taking and capturing loads of future artwork images myself. For example, I made the image for the upcoming release on the label.
Tell us about your new Mysteries Of The Universe EP. It’s your first solo EP on the label and your first in a while, right?
Yes, it’s my first solo EP, and it features a remix from Giammarco Orsini. There’s also a digital bonus track, so it’s essentially a five-track EP. It felt really natural to do something solo this time after the 2×12” inch release I did in collaboration with S.A.M. last year (exactly one year ago). It’s my second release this year; in January, I had a four-track EP on the Parisian label Yoyaku where I showed a bit deeper side of my music, which I am still playing in my sets now and then.
I had so much fun making the selection of the Mysteries Of The Universe EP. There was a point where I had about 20 tracks finished and had a few studio sessions with my manager where we just sat down and made a selection every time. The tracks we have selected for the final EP are still, to this day, my favourite ones. The freedom I feel right now when making music is just something special.
Who are some up-and-coming deep house producers that have grabbed your attention recently?
I think there are loads of good up-and-coming producers. Some have been doing it for a while, and others are pretty new, but I love stuff from T. Jacques, Mad.Again, Wodda Bee, Picasso, Duowe, and Garrett David — he’s already been smashing it for a few years, but I always play all of his stuff.
What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Being together with friends, not thinking about anything, just having a good time and enjoying good music and food — the things we all love the most.
Of course, I’m looking forward to all my summer shows. I’ve made so much new music for the whole summer, and I’ve signed some incredible music that’s forthcoming on Up The Stuss, so I will definitely all be road testing this the coming months.
In celebration her new Persistence EP on Lobster Theremin with Corbi, Anna Wall serves up some piping-hot dance floor favorites for Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
I’ve picked a selection of tunes that I’ve been playing in my sets recently, both old and new. Some are from my very talented friends and from record labels that I love. I’ve also included tracks from my latest EP with Corbi on Lobster Theremin — available June 24th — which we’re super excited about. Hope you enjoy!
This is the A-side from our EP forthcoming on Lobster. We wrote the EP in Corbi’s studio in Ibiza, while the world was in perpetual standstill. The title “Persistence” resonated with us and is about keeping our heads up and continuing to write music while everything around us felt so uncertain.
N-Gynn – Trippin’ Balls [Pleasure Club]
This EP is in my bag without fail and gets a spin in many of my sets. Like the name suggests, it’s trippy, but also dreamy and incredibly atmospheric. N-Gynn on fire as always and Bobby’s label Pleasure Club is pure quality each and every release.
Kepler – Contact [Constant Sound]
Consistent club anthems; Kepler tunes always go down a treat on the dancefloor and the melody on this one via Burnski’s ever-solid imprint Constant Sound feels effortlessly timeless.
Anna Wall, Corbi – Consciousness [Lobster Theremin]
This is perhaps my favourite track off our latest EP. It’s more subliminal; a little darker and on a bit more of a pensive and melancholy tip than the rest. We used the Waldorf Wave XT for those melodics and it’s a beautiful piece of vintage hardware that’s been a staple in most of our records.
Inner Zone – JV Sports [The Bricks]
This is the seventh release that came on my label The Bricks and was a debut from this awesome trio Inner Zone. I love their productions and it was such an honour to release their first EP. They’re onto great things right now and I’m excited to hear what’s next for them. Big ups and big love to Rupert, Alex and Nic. The Bricks 008 is coming soon stay tuned!
Thoma Bulwer, Anna Wall – The Re-Up [Parasol Culture]
Another long time friend of mine is Thoma Bulwer; we met at an Ostgut Ton party back in 2011 and have been making music together since 2012. This one features fast-paced modular synthesis, FM basslines and gnarly broken beats that came out on his excellent imprint Parasol Culture.
Johnny Hunter – U.K Aim [Pleasure Club]
This is taken from Johnny Hunter’s incredible album Dub Is King. For me his album represents the sound of London both past and present with elements of UKG, house, 2-step and dub, fused with his own distinct flavour. Anthemic.
Anna Wall, Corbi – Take A Moment [Lobster Theremin]
Another one from Corbi and I’s EP on Lobster. We were listening to a lot of old ‘90s rave and breaks records during the time we wrote this EP, and that era definitely inspired us in the writing process. I believe it’s the melody that creeps in at the breakdown that makes this one special.
Bobby O’Donnell, Reeshy – 4 [Pilot]
I love these two legends so much and their productions together are so special. I play this EP in so many of my sets, and it’s absolutely timeless. They have a new EP coming soon too, which I’m super excited about. Keep your eyes and ears out for it. It’s unreal.
Priori – Receptivity [Fragments of Reality]
Fragments of Reality is an amazing new imprint, which is a subsidiary of 20/20 Vision and curated by Luther Vine. Priori’s “Receptivity” is such an epic and emotive track, it sends me into the outer realms. The label is one to watch and the artwork is amazing too.
Anna Wall, Corbi – Regardless [Lobster Theremin]
This the final track on our EP; the bassline we recorded live from the Juno-6 and there’s plenty more arp action from the Waldorf Wave XT. We felt like this one rounded off the EP naturally and we were over the moon that Lobster Theremin wanted to release all four. Big ups and big love to Jimmy Asquith, Ian, Alice and the rest of the Lobster family.
Idris Bena – Solstice [Forest Ill]
I’m in love with this track; Idris Bena is such a great producer, this track is so nostalgic but feels totally fresh as well. When those pads come in it gets me every time! Emotional.
Vitess – Tunnel Phase (Janeret Remix) [STRCTR]
Janeret’s productions are always such a moment when you play them in a set; so dreamy, and so ethereal. His remix of Vitess is so beautiful, in love with the breakdown.
Anna Wall, Corbi – Pipe Dreams [Gottwax]
I still get asked about this one which always makes me smile. I first tested it out in my Boiler Room set recorded back in 2018, and was so happy when it finally saw the light of day on this awesome VA featuring many talented friends and artists.
Silverlining – Ni-CD Deluxe [Silverlining Dubs]
I have so many Silverlining gems in my collection and he’s still making so much incredible music. The Selected Works (1995-1999) he re-released is full of absolute gold. “Ni-CD Deluxe” is one of my all-time favourites. Timeless music.
Gene On Earth – To Bleep Or Not To Bleep [Limousine]
Gene On Earth’s label Limousine has defined a sound and his new album is a perfect representation as well as featuring some slower, more downtempo grooves. This is a pacier one from the album that I’ve been testing out in my sets and it’s been going down a treat.
Helium – Out There [Kalahari Oyster Cult]
I’m a huge fan of Kalahari Oyster Cult and I was over the moon when I found out they’d repressed an old favourite by Helium. I’ve played both “Out There” and “Try Me” near the end of a long night set and they create special moments.
Ascot, WW – Radio Malfunction [Superlux]
This is taken from a top-notch VA compiled by my long time friends Mikey Gill and Nick Gynn, the founders of the label Superlux. Ascot and WW have delivered a ‘90s rave inspired banger channelling the sounds of Sheffield bleep. Proper LFO vibes.
iO (Mulen) – Report [Berg Audio]
I love the sounds of this label Berg Audio; often deep and dubbed out, they work so well in my warm up sets and for the early hours. A recent release is this solid VA named Elements and I’ve been playing out this luscious number by iO (Mulen).
Speedy J – De-Orbit [Warp Records]
When you dig deep you can find Speedy J’s ambient and downtempo excursions; they’re super special and this one is no exception. Iconic release on Warp from ‘92. Perfect end-of-the-night record.
Veteran producers Chris Lake and Chris Lorenzo have teamed up as Anti Up — and scored a Beatport number one in the process with “Chromatic.”
Chris and Chris, Congratulations to your new Beatport number one with “Chromatic”! How are you?
We’re lacking vitamin D from long hours in the studio, but other than that we’re great thank you!
It’s been nine months since your last release as Anti Up. How did the track take shape and how did you collaborate on this?
We had this track written in 2020, which had another vocal and some rave stabs on it and we couldn’t get it to gel, so we left it alone. Fast forward to this year and we had a vocal sent over to us by P.O.P.P.Y, which happened to fit perfectly on to this beat. It pretty much finished itself once we had that. Moral of the story — always save your WIPs, sometimes it only takes that one element to unlock them.
When did you first feel that “Chromatic” would go down well? When did you play it out first and what were the reactions?
Honestly, as soon as we added the vocal on to the already-existing beat, it felt amazing instantly! We both opened with it at some of our February shows and the crowd reaction was huge. We had a few records we were planning to release beforehand but we felt this was now the priority record to drop before the summer came along.
What made you decide to start your own project as Anti Up rather than record occasional tracks under your own names?
It was actually Destructo’s suggestion quite a few years back. It started with a lot of tongue in cheek hooks over heavily sampled semi modular synths that we have no idea how to properly use. We have evolved what we see the project becoming and we are excited for you to hear what releases we have planned after “Chromatic”. It’s probably not what you will expect.
What’s in the plans for Anti Up and for your individual projects?
An album for us, it’s very close, just tidying up loose ends. A lot of it steps out from the usual driving house that is expected from us, we hope you enjoy what we have been working on. You can expect some live shows from us coming soon, debuting in Australia in September at Listen Out festival.
For June’s Pride Cover Story, we meet Cormac, one of the queer underground’s most important artists.
Cormac McAdam was born in Banbridge, Ireland, 20 miles outside of Belfast, during the violent 30-year conflict known as The Troubles, which would last until 1998, a year after he moved to London at age 20.
He was a young gay man escaping conservatism, homophobia and war in his homeland, and in London he soon found the safe and freeing space and sound of dance clubs. When he began DJing (as Cormac), that role not only became a way to deepen his connection to his community, but also a powerful place to unlearn the harmful views laid on him from a young age and find confidence in himself.
It’s now been 20 years since he started DJing, and he’s made a name for himself in the queer and underground dance music communities in London, Berlin and beyond. He’s a regular at Panorama Bar during their infamous, endless Sunday parties, and he holds the storied club close to his heart. It’s the place where his music has not only supported young queer ravers in the way that was so essential to him as a young man, but also allowed him to grow and thrive as a DJ.
“Playing there has been a great privilege because it has given me license to fully play and expand my record collection in a way I didn’t in other clubs. It’s essentially a queer club that comes from queer people. It’s allowed me to relax and grow and that’s been a massive contribution to me really finding out what I’m able to do as a DJ,” the “Heartcore” producer explains.
He’s calling from Berlin, where he’s sitting on a couch with his French bulldog peacefully snoring next to him. In a lengthy, free-flowing conversation, we discuss his latest music inspired by the early queer dance music of Hi-NRG, his Polari Records label, what pride means to him, and much more.
Cormac has been channeling the ecstatic sound of Hi-NRG lately, showcased on his two most recent tracks, “Sparks” and “Heartcore,” both released on his Polari imprint. He points to Patrick Cowley—who worked with queer disco legends like Sylvester and made porn soundtracks—and Bobby O as the go-to guys behind Hi-NRG, which took hold in the wake of the disco backlash. It is a bit like a higher BPM, more energetic, more synthesized disco. “Bobby O has been a big influence on the music I make at the moment. He was behind Divine and a lot of stuff onMegatone Records, stuff that was emulating more synthesized disco sounds and so, in a way, I’ve always had a feeling for that music.”
Cormac has always been drawn to the queer, jubilant sounds of disco and Italo disco, so it was a matter of time before he went “full disco” and nodded to Hi-NRG in his productions and DJ sets. “It’s been a journey of really exploring music and playing lots of different styles, and then I ended up on something that seemed way too simple for me at the start. [Before] I was like, ‘I have to dive in, I have to explore this, I have to get into more techno.’ And I’ve kind of gone around the circle and ended up in something that just felt very natural. It seems to be a good fit for me. I feel authentic there at the moment.”
He also sees the energetic rhythms of Hi-NRG as a perfect backdrop to tell queer love stories, just as it soundtracked many a dance floor romance in its heyday.
“A lot of our love stories happened in clubs, on dance floors, in these exclusively gay spaces, because that’s where we felt safe. Maybe it wasn’t safe to approach someone on the street or the supermarket, unless you lived in San Francisco or something. So a lot of these very powerful human experiences have happened for gay people in clubs. You can have so many different emotions in one night, and I think Hi-NRG music often captures that and doesn’t get too deep about it, strips it down to quite punchy lyrics,” he explains.
This framework and context allowed Cormac to use his voice on “Sparks” without feeling too personal about it, a first for him. “Sometimes when you make music and write lyrics, if they’re very personal, it’s kind of harrowing to release or perform that music; it can be quite intense. It can be a bit like standing up naked and reading your diary. I’m able to be a bit more universal when I write in the Hi-NRG feeling because I’m writing my experience, but also the experiences of my community and clubs throughout the years. So it seems easier for me,” he reflects.
“Sparks” is about celebrating the “exciting moments in dark rooms” of clubs, something anyone whose found love or lust on the dance floor can relate to. The celebratory part is crucial, because, as Cormac explains, it’s a reclaiming of spaces and experiences often looked down upon. “It’s very easy within heteronormative society to maybe feel kind of like that’s less of an experience or a shameful experience, and as a recovering Catholic, I’d like to challenge that. It is about magic moments in dark rooms, and it can also be a loving and valid experience, even if just for that moment.”
As for “Heartcore,” his first stab at Hi-NRG, released in September 2021, things are a bit more personal for him, yet listeners still connected deeply with the rollercoaster of love he portrayed in such a fun and upbeat way. “‘Heartcore’ was maybe a little bit more personal. The lyrics are about the spectrum of feelings you can have with someone, and the intensity and the temporariness of things as well. I guess I didn’t think so much about ‘Heartcore,’ it just came out. Sometimes I don’t think so much about what comes out. But people seem to connect to those lyrics, they liked them.”
“Heartcore” opens with passionate requests to one’s lover: “Kiss me like you love me. / Fuck me like you hate me. / Hold me when I cry. / Tonight we might die.” “This Heartcore is what we’re made for / This heartcore for when we fly,” he echoes during the chorus while sparkling pew pew synths fly out like lasers into the crowd. A perfect dance floor heater to get things hot.
In March 2021, Cormac made his BBC Radio1 Essential Mix debut, in which he debuted “Heartcore” and other queer dance sounds from the present and past. “I wanted to create a snapshot of what I’m doing DJ-wise, which is a nod to the past, but also looking forward. It’s kind of an acknowledgment of the history of music that has brought me as a queer man to this time and space. But also, looking forward to the future.”
“There’s quite a few tracks in it that are from the Hi-NRG era, there’s some Patrick Cowley and some synthy disco stuff,” he continues. “There’s even some acapella of RuPaul’s ‘Supermodel,’ which is ’90s; these little landmarks of queer dance floor history. And there’s quite a few tracks on it from my label — stuff that inspires me at the moment that I think are perhaps classics of the future. And I wanted to create a snapshot of what I do for people who maybe haven’t heard what I do. It’s also the summary of 20 years of collecting records,” Cormac explains.
“Heartcore” was also his first track he dropped on his own Polari Records, which he launched in 2020 as a home to celebrate queer dance music and art. This year there are monthly releases on Polari, with upcoming ones from Neurotiker, Emmet Read, Boys Shorts, and his frequent collaborator Volta, who’ll be dropping an EP. Queer, London-based producerKiwi recently released their second EP on Polari, Hedonistic Tendencies, with cute and sexy cover art designed by Spanish illustratorSebastián Delgado. The eye-catching label art also plays an important role in showcasing queer visual artists.
“Records and vinyl covers have provided great fantasy and escapism for me as a kid so it’s been important for me to have beautiful artwork on Polari. My geekiness lies in audio and music so I wanted to collaborate with visual artists. I’ve worked with many queer visual artists, such as my Scottish friend, performance artistShrek 666,James Unsworth who is based in the UK and is creating body positive images of queer men, which I think is much needed, Sebastián Delgado in Madrid makes very romantic, beautiful, queer art; andMyCheapDreams in Los Angeles has created some collage pop art .”
Cormac – “Sparks” (graphic by Holger Risse)
Cormac, who’s an Aquarius, the sign of the water bearer, finds movement, like biking or walking around a city, creatively inspiring, and a way that lyrics tend to come to him. Because of this, he is writing lyrics and ideas down regularly, but his tendency to feel personal about them leaves many tucked away in his notebook and away from our ears.
Collaboration has been a way for him to escape the impasse of overthinking. His friendVolta, a Berlin-based producer, is in the studio much more than Cormac, and their brotherly relationship has helped enhance his productivity by helping him take things less personally. Typically when they work together, they’re producing in Ableton, and then they replace MIDI synth sounds with hardware for a “more authentic arpeggiator sound, which has a bit more Italo energy.”
While he likes to work with analog synths to bring out the funk, to him, it’s really about finding the right method to convey moods and feelings. “When I started to make music, Miss Kittin told me, ‘You know, good music’s in there. [Points to heart.] It’s not in the studio. If it’s in there, then you only need a few things to get most of it out. And then you can embellish on it, but having all the equipment in the world won’t give you a good idea.'”
Cormac has been releasing music for over a decade now; his first was the Merlin EP on Memo in 2010. There’s been more tracks sprinkled over the years, including “Perfect Time” in 2019 on Correspondent, when he feels like he was finally getting into his groove with his sound. It’s also took him some time to settle into his confidence as a DJ, which was directly intertwined with coming home to himself as a gay man raised in an oppressive environment.
“The definition of masculinity [in Ireland] was so narrow. Growing up there as a gay kid was like being a flamingo in a yard of chickens. It was too tricky, so I was planning my escape for a long time,” he reflects. He left home at 18, and left his homeland of Ireland by 20 for London, where he heard you could walk in the streets naked. The rumor wasn’t true, but he did find community there, as well as himself.
“Music and dance floors have been important to me since I first entered a club. I feel deeply connected to clubs. Clubs are a family for me and a church of sorts. At first, I studied and explored dance, but ‘studying’ dance kinda killed my passion. It’s a brave, courageous move to follow your dreams because there’s a risk that you might end up feeling differently about it. That said, when I started to mix music something clicked and my place in the club made more sense, I was able to contribute something back to the place I love and am grateful to still do that today,” he reflects.
When I ask if he feels he’s underrated or a hidden gem, he responds that he never thinks about himself and his DJ career in that way. “I feel confident in what I’m doing, but it didn’t happen overnight. I feel like a big part of my story has been unraveling the stress of growing up gay in a pretty homophobic environment… I noticed that when I started to really have confidence in what I’m doing and I started to really enjoy it, people really started to notice it.”
This personal and career journey has been a rather cathartic one for him. “I think how you feel when you’re playing is really important. If you’re playing something really happy, but you’re really stressed about an argument you had at 6 p.m. that day, I think people feel that. It’s been a great meditation for me to get in the booth and enjoy the record that I’m playing. It’s been a great timeout and a great medicine for me.”
Dance music and nightclub culture as we know it today took root in the days of disco, which was a safe space created by and for queer people and people of color to celebrate and share joy. Cormac believes those thriving at the top of the scene should be a more diverse group that better reflects those radical beginnings.
“There’s no getting away from the history of dance music. I’m not even the most intersectional person to speak about it, it comes from queer Black culture… The industry around dance music has become a bit more heteronormative—you could say that capitalism on a bigger level is more heteronormative, so when it became more of an industry [that shift happened]. There needs to be more space at the table for queer people succeeding at dance music,” Cormac states. He sees Berghain as a space that is doing things right.
“The leading club in the world is a queer club, essentially. And it’s a time again when, thanks to clubs like that, we can look again to queer culture and recognize its influence and its input on the scene at large. It’s great that some of the leading clubs in the world are platforming and showcasing LGBTQI+ DJs, that it’s much needed. And on a bigger level, when you look at festivals and leading DJs on the planet, there’s still not enough queer people, not enough women, not enough people of color; of all the industries of the world.”
This isn’t about diversity for diversity’s sake —it’s about creating real inclusion and equality, and creating and fostering spaces that allow everyone to be free, safe, and seen.
“It’s really important that we find that balance because this is an industry, a scene, a place where people can mix and integrate and celebrate together, and that’s what always been…It’s where you meet other queer people… We make a lot of our love stories and a lot of our mistakes and a lot of our growth on dance floors in clubs, and it’s something very real and authentic for us. It’s not just a night out, it’s a cathartic process.”
It is in these open and inclusive spaces and communities that we can learn from, support and encourage each other. This is where creativity comes from; not from a solo genius, but from a group of people working together.
“The people that have been very inspiring to me from the very start have been women.” He was taught to DJ by his friend, a trans woman named Alex Silverfish. Miss Kittin is a mentor that has given him great advice over the years. “Honey Dijon is a trailblazer, she’s someone that knows her authentic sound.What she is doing is so overdue. I love seeing a black trans woman at the top of her game and at the top of the league. She’s smashing the story for generations to come. What she’s doing is quite amazing. “
He’s also inspired by queer artists throwing queer parties, like LezzerQuest, a femme duo that host Shoot Your Shot in Glasgow; and Kiwi, who runs a sex positive party in London called Crossbreed. “Often when you think of queer stuff, you think of a very male-dominated space. Crossbreed is a very gender transparent place and it’s smashing even the perimeters of what we thought of as queer, especially what gay people have thought of as queer, and that’s wonderful. I’m surrounded by a lot of very inspiring people doing great things.”
As for what’s next for Cormac, he’s back on a busy tour schedule around Europe, with monthly Sunday marathons at Berghain, including on June 26. He’s stoked to be back on the road and in the clubs, apart from missing his dog and her cute little snores. If you can’t catch him IRL, you can catch his Rinse FM show, which recently got moved to the weekends, the first Saturday of every month. Later this year, we’ll be able to hear the podcast he’s been working on.
When I ask what Pride means to him, he pauses for just a brief moment before tapping into the essence of what we’ve been discussing this whole time. “I think Pride is standing up against shame and letting go of a shame and prejudice that is not ours. I think Pride is an antidote to generations of being told non-heteronormativity is wrong.”
And even though much progress has been made since the Stonewall uprising in 1969, the work is far from done. Pride isn’t just about celebration. “I think it’s essential at the moment. There are over 40 countries where homosexuality is illegal. We live in a time that’s very privileged but there’s also a great focus on less liberties for people. For those of us who live in privilege and go out and dance in clubs and celebrate and be hedonistic, it’s not enough. It’s understandable, but we have to take action for those queer people that don’t have that same freedom and liberty.”
For those interested in way to take action for the global queer community, he mentionsAll Out, which is doing vital work around the world, like helping queer people escape Russia and supporting Ukrainian refuges, for example. They also have LGBTQI+ ambassadors in South America speaking to communities there to reeducate them on what it means to be queer.
“I think Pride is about remembering others and realizing there’s more work to do,” he concludes.
Ana Monroy Yglesias is a Staff Writer for GRAMMY.com and a freelance music journalist based out of Los Angeles. Find her on Twitter.
Welcome back to On Our Radar, Beatportal’s roundup of the DJs and producers we can’t get enough of. Enjoy this special PRIDE 2022 edition of our monthly feature with some of our favorite up-and-coming LGBTQ+ acts!
Check out the On Our Radar Beatport Chart to find tracks from the artists below, along with additional tunes that have caught our attention this month.
Sister Zo, AKA Zoey Shopmaker, has spent the last five years changing the cultural landscape of the midwest and simultaneously amplifying marginalised voices. A founding member of Kansas-based trans collective UN/TUCK, Sister Zo’s embedded her breaks and bass-filled DJ sets into the hearts and souls of crowds from New York to North Carolina. Sister Zo made good use of lockdown, perfecting her production skills and releasing her debut EP Screw Cheek on Scuffed Recordings in February 2022. Her club-ready, percussion-heavy tracks have won approval from Surgeon, Nene H, Mosca, Huerco S, Eris Drew, and she’ll no doubt gather more fans with her latest EP Freak Shift, released on 3024. Now residing in New York, Sister Zo’s been busy busting out irresistible bangers for Nowadays, Slingshot Festival and NYC-based queer collective XOXA.
OLAN’s musical catalog’s as unique as she is. Real name Luzana Flores, the Columbus-based multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, producer and DJ stopped trying to fit in a long time ago and it’s working out for her. Born to Puerto Rican and Dominican parents, OLAN says her musical education began at church and accelerated in college when she taught herself how to produce electronic music. In 2020 she collaborated with Mat Zo on his Illusion of Depth album, and since then has released a cascade of tracks and EPs on Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep. Her music’s often described as mesmeric – it’s soothing, emotive, unexpected, and impossible to categorise. This month OLAN releases her long-awaited debut album Contra on Anjunadeep, inspired by an eclectic melting pot of influences ranging from R&B to Christian rock to drum ’n’ bass.
A key figure of the Dutch underground, Lupe draws inspiration from acid house, disco and everything else in between. Since 2004 Lupe’s thrown monthly events in Amsterdam where he’s invited the likes of Honey Dijon, Cormac, DJ T, Andy Butler and many more. He has a residency on globally renowned Red Light Radio as well as Parish, a queer nightclub in The Hague. His extensive catalog of releases includes “Only Sinners Survive” on Pets Recordings and “Daddy” on Love Child Records, both hypnotic, hedonistic tracks made for close-eyed dancers on sweaty dance floors. On June 10th, Lupe releases his latest EP, Come Through on Sous Music, full of sci-fi synths, hypnotic vocals and a hefty dose of sass. “The dance floor’s always been a place of self-development, safety and fun for me,” Lupe says. “I dedicate my life to that timeless energy.”
DJ, producer and label boss Baby Weight loves a chunky banger. Real name Cara Eser, she founded the label Chub Rub in 2017 to showcase emerging sounds from her hometown Washington DC and beyond. Since then, both Baby Weight and the label have amassed a cult following, with an ethos based around genre-bending beats and advocacy for inclusivity within dance music. Baby Weight released her debut album Phases in 2019, which topped Beatport’s charts in multiple genres, including tech house, indie dance and electronica. Since coming out as trans in 2020, Baby Weight has addressed her transition within her artistry to create dialogue and build safe spaces for other trans artists. Baby Weight’s latest release, “O Sweet Baby Jesus” is out on HE.SHE.THEY on June 22nd and no doubt will further cement her reputation as one of the most exciting, diverse, genre-bending and unapologetic producers out there.
Montreal’s Maara is on a mission to change the face of dance music with her euphoric, celebratory, breakbeat energy. Her 2021 breakout EP Ultimate Reward on NAFF Recordings slides between industrial, progressive and electro and her track “Forbidden Plum” on her subsequent EP Potion Activated was nominated Best Song of 2021 by Resident Advisor. Her recent EP Goddess Within on Radiant Love is a celebration of queerness and divine femininity. It’s packed with white-hot energy and treads the line between minimal and club, with tracks that are simultaneously tongue-in-cheeky and sincere. Maara’s mixing skills have caught the attention of bookers all around the world, so catch her at a club near you in the very close future.
If MPHD sounds familiar that’s because he is. Also known as Bradley Exum, The San Francisco-based DJ and producer came up in the blog house era, producing nu-rave electro bangers back when Daft Punk reigned supreme and neon was the new black. Although blog house has come and gone, MPHD hasn’t – in 2018 he released tech house anthem “Repetition” on Text Me Records and in 2019 teamed up with Minimal Kids to release his MK30EP. MPHD’s remix of Starfari’s “The Weekend” featured on POPGANG Records’ recent Soul Purpose EP and he also heads up rave label Rave New World alongside Tiffany Tyson. Catch them B2B-ing at Outside Lands on August 7th. This Pride, MPHD’s throwing his My, Oh My! party at Monarch in San Francisco on June 24th and is playing alongside DJ Harvey, Octo Octa and Eris Drew at Polyglamorous Pink Block on June 25th. For more MPHD, check out his live opening set for Mika at The Fillmore.
The two-day ReConnect Summit on September 21 & 22 will feature live performances, immersive experiences, and discussions from industry thought leaders around music, technology, Web 3.0, and dance music culture.
Beatport has announced it will host the first-ever ReConnect Summit in Brooklyn, New York, on September 21st and 22nd. The two-day event will center around electronic music culture — featuring speakers from the business and artistic communities covering creative innovation, technology, Web 3.0 and more.
ReConnect Summit will take place at 74 Wythe, a 15,000-square-foot venue located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After attending speaker and networking sessions during the day, conference-goers will be treated to exclusive live performances from the world’s top DJs at night.
ReConnect was launched by Beatport in March of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a halt. With the goal of bringing the greater music community, as well as charities together during unprecedented times, ReConnect aimed to connect people while benefiting important causes. Over the course of its existence, Beatport’s ReConnect series has raised more than $800,000 for charities across the globe.
“It is our hope that extending and transforming the ReConnect concept into an annual place to exchange ideas about our business resonates with our community in New York and the U.S. in general,” said Ed Hill, Senior Vice President of Beatport Media Group. “This is a hugely important market for the music that we all love so much.”
Visit reconnect.beatport.com to pre-register for ReConnect Summit to be notified when tickets go on sale later this month.
Photos: Karli Evans, Naiseyi Martinez, Yana Gueorguieva
What is deep reggaetón? We explore the roots of the genre, which has steadily become one of the underground’s freshest sounds.
There are a couple of things deep reggaetón is not. It’s not the endless, hypnotic trackwork of Ricardo Villalobos or Luciano. Nor is it playing Daddy Yankee at a slower BPM with slapdash effects. And deep reggaetón definitely isn’t an English DJ looping a bongo sample while playing in Tulum. But beyond the disqualifications, the elusive sound’s criteria and definition remains a plurality in the court of opinion. It spans two continents, three regions, and two cities and likely shorthand for an inner circle of young producers incorporating their identity past the antiseptic four-on-the-floor drum pattern.
The Miami-bred, New York City resident, DJ Python (AKA Brian Piñeyro) first coined deep reggaetón in a press release for his 2016 EP, ¡Estereo Bomba! Vol. 1. Throughout his discography, he incorporates his Ecuadorean and Argentine lineage with heady ambient textures, IDM-inspired downtempo, and the ubiquitous reggaetón kick and snarethat’ll enthrall the club kid or late-night Little Havana.
Reggaetón’s history is comically complex. Neena Rouhani of Rolling Stone and Isabelia Herrera of the New York Times wrote reggaetón exploded in the 1990s, hailing [likely] from Panama as a prototype, then onto Puerto Rico with its origins planted in “Black diasporic sounds.”
“In its origins, reggaetón was about denunciations and grievances against an economic and political system that excluded the youth who were making the music,” wrote Herrera. “The circulation and metamorphosis of Jamaican dancehall, Panamanian reggae en español, hip-hop, and Puerto Rican underground.” Reggaetón’s DNA is at least reggae, hip-hop, dancehall, and bomba, but likely more, reaching across pan-Latin America and Africa. The music’s fervent kick, snare, and clap comes from dembow, which became the genre’s North Star rhythm—not a far cry from dub techno’s origins in Jamaica’s reggae culture. Unsurprisingly, electronic music has always adopted, or usurped, different culture’s sounds into club-ready homogeneity.
“I think it’s like the early 90s where all these breaks floated around on floppy disks; some people were making energetic club music, and then other people were using the floppy disks to make downtempo,” says Piñeyro. “And I think the way deep reggaetón is being used is similar.” Take DJ Python’s 92 BPM track “oooophi” off his seamless Mas Amable album. Glitched-out vocal-snippets float, and ambient pads splash in the background. The güiro, a hallow Latin instrument, scratches the ear, while relentless drums stomp the floor. boom, dum, boom, dum, boom boom. “I’m always curious if the music wasn’t put without this context; how it would actually be received. I think talking about it is important because of lineage.”
The term often ends with Piñeyro, but Miami has proved a microcosm where producers add meat to Python’s downtempo interludes a la jungle, dubstep, industrial, and techno, but with one deeply rooted similarity: the percussion. “For me, it’s the drum loop,” says Piñeyro. “I think it’s the dembow riddim, and people take it in other directions.”
With the resurgence of breaks felt all over electronic music from the likes of Skee Mask, deep reggaetón’s percussion-forward ethos is a jumping-off point for producers to incorporate their Latin and South American heritage.
“I would say deep reggaetón does exist, but it’s hard to put a label on it,” says Miami DJ/producer Nick León. “Deep Reggaetón isn’t exactly my favorite phrase, but it does give people access. In context to what I do, I think it goes to me using different classic dancehall drum patterns and using the dub side for more upbeat, or even aggressive sound.”
Raised mostly in Miami, the Colombian American record boss took over the Space Tapes label in 2017. His production has been featured on the Mexican label N.A.A.F.I. and Tra Tra Trax with Bitter Babe, his longtime collaborator. “It’s a thing of the times where people play the music they grew up on. I was in middle school, and there was the big reggaeton exploding with “Gasolina” I think it’s a mix of nostalgia and connection. I don’t think it’s a statement; it’s just that. It’s all made with the same software that you use to make techno.”
León’s most recent crowning achievement is a producer credit on Rosalía’s latest highly-acclaimed album Motomami. He also just pushed his DJ’ing accolades past Miami last month where he played a New Orleans show—a city neither associated with electronic or Latin music; yet, León had no issue keeping the crowd. “Bad Bunny plays well anywhere,” he quipped. This summer, DJ Python and León will release a split-EP, and a residency at Miami’s nightclub Floyd, dubbed “Suero” after a Mexican electrolyte water.
Photo: Nick León & Bitter Babe (by Karli Evans)
INVT (pronounced innovate), a duo of DJs/producers/fashion designers tapped into jungle, drum ‘n’ bass, acid, and dubstep to drive their smitten sound and cultural underpinnings. INVT’s Luca Medici and Delbert Perez, two recent Mexico City transplants, formed the music and art project in 2015.
“In our case, it’s just Latin bass music,” says Perez, a first-generation American from Venezuela.
“We grew up in Miami and have been around so much of that Latin influence that it makes sense to tap into it,” Medici adds, who moved to Miami at five-years-old from Uruguay. “You say, ‘damn, this is who I am, and I want to incorporate it.’ All our music is just our experiences. Much Latin music is focused on dancing—whether slow or fast.” What started as a middle-school friendship grew into a slew of self-released EPs and albums, a fashion brand, and a labyrinthian live set that entrances the viewer as much as the listener with once-in-a-set music.
“I think the umbrella would be Latin club; we play reggaetón, but we also did cumbia, dembow, baliefunk and influenced by dubstep, garage, techno, tribal house—a lot of it comes down to the percussion,” says Medici.
Just one example of the eldritch hybrid is “Culo Rebajado” off INVT’ recent Zona PercusivaEP; a brutal dembow-like percussion pang the speakers. There are nimble womps and bubbly noise–an homage to dubstep, but it all comes second to the beat. “We all have different styles in this community, but the one thing that ties us all together is the percussive tracks,” says Perez. “We can go back-to-back with anyone [in this article] because we’re all friends and know we share this one intention of making percussive music.” The duo is set to go back-to-back in London with Skream next month.
Photo: Coffintexts (by Yana Gueorguieva)
León mentioned he notices sonic differences between those who grew up in America, and those who grew up in Latin and South America. When the two perspectives merge, as is the case with Bitter Babe, it becomes a short circuit of industrial sounds and hypnotic rhythms. The Bogotá-born DJ/producer lives in Miami and earned a repetition for speedy electronica, which expanded past the East Coast as she debuted at Coachella this year.
“At this point—everything mixes; every sound exists,” says Bitter Babe (AKA Laura Solarte). “You just have to name it and push for it, and people will acknowledge it pretty fast. I don’t think it needs to be pre-approved by anyone. I think deep reggaetón is more symbolic right now, but I like the name because it can mean many things and hints of where the sound goes.”
As a DJ, she scales through smoldering anthems chopped and diced with UK hip-hop, grime, and reggaetón amalgamations. “You’re not sure if you’re being booked for the music and not because you’re a woman,” says Solarte. “But I spoke to the person who booked for Coachella and told me he did the research and actually liked my music. The night I played was more reggaetón and hip-hop; in a way, it was perfect.”
“SMS_229_305,” a collaborative track between Solarteand León prefaces her latest EP, Delirio, off Club Romántico. At times trance-like synths are charging up, cutting through magnetic steel drums; a combination few could imagine, let alone have the wherewithal to play out. “Deep can mean so many things, but when you link it to reggaetón, it makes something specific. The fun to it is exploring and connecting and seeing how it works. The generation changed, and the crowd wants different things,” she says.
“I think it was inevitable that my sound as a producer would feed off these influences. I find percussive soundscapes with clever, repetitive vocals that bite very pleasing,” writes Miami-raised, Peruvian queer DJ Coffintexts” (AKA Alexandra Muggli). Muggli chisels deep reggaeton’s fogy elements with a scabrous warehouse sound padded between breezy synths and adrenaline-filled hip shaking. She often uses silence and utopian-sounding ambient as a coup de grace to the listener before pushing the chaotic rhythm back to warp speed. “I’ve lived most of my life between Miami and Lima, Peru. Both places are very vivid and multicultural, so I was introduced to a lot of music growing up. I think this blend is developing due to the increased ease of access in developing countries. The internet has facilitated the cross-pollination of sounds from previously remote locations. It is very heartwarming to see music transcend cultures.”
None of these artists are pigeonholed to deep reggaetón’s ridged criterion; nor do they reject Westerners’ incorporating certain elements. But the cultural cross-pollination that Muggli alluded to is the cornerstone to the sound’s future. So, if you are still unsure if the sound exists while lost in the club, just find the beat.
UK artist Just Her celebrates Pride 2022 with a stirring and euphoric selection of tunes for Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
Here I’ve tried to pick 10 tracks that are a reflection of my sound at the moment — what I’m playing in my sets and the artists and labels I’m really digging right now, as well as a couple of cheeky bits of mine and something from my own record label too. I’ve tried to stay current with this rather than go for the classics, so that it provides a true reflection of current times and conveys the emotions I’m feeling in this post-pandemic industry landscape, with a new baby that I’ve welcomed along the way!
For me, genre is less important, but what matters is the feelings and emotions within the music, creating those moments of euphoria, connection or contemplation, either on the dance floor, at home, or wherever you choose to listen. I hope you are digging these as much as me.
This is part of my latest release on the amazing He.She.They imprint, which I’m so happy to be a part of, as everything they stand for aligns so perfectly with my values. This EP is also a very special one, as it was created around (and inspired by) the birth of our new baby. This track in particular was written about that first magical hour we spent together after the birth and is one of the most personal tracks I’ve ever made.
Lau.ra – Chengdu [Needwant]
I first discovered Lau.ra as a vocalist but then realised that her music is incredible too. She is also a fellow working music mama with a young baby, which I obviously fully understand and respect in terms of the challenges and sleep deprivation! This is a beautiful track of hers, from one of my favourite labels. Gorgeous melodies and chunky beats — what more could you want!?
Onur Ozman – Out Of Distance (Jozef K’s Dreaming Forever Mix) [Constant Circles]
This is a favourite release of mine from my own label Constant Circles and was also the first vinyl release we did, which made it even more special. The original tracks from Onur were awesome, but then I also loved the dreamy direction that Jozef K took. He’s an artist that I really respect so I was super stoked to have him on the label. There is also a cheeky remix from me on this EP if you check out the whole release.
Lis Sarocca – Blue Desert [Mobilee]
I love everything that Lis Sarocca makes, but this track especially has been a (not so) secret weapon in my sets over the last year or so. It’s especially great for those outdoor festival moments, thanks to its uplifting piano house vibes. It was also released on Mobilee, which is a long-time favourite label of mine with an eclectic music policy and an incredible roster of artists.
Just Her, Nolan – Blue Sky [Rennaissance]
Produced in collaboration with my fellow Brightonian Nolan, I gave this track its first ever play as a rough demo at Anjunadeep Open Air in London last year and the incredible crowd reaction told me it was going to be a big one. It then got a release on Renaissance and has been massive in my sets ever since. I get such a buzz from playing it and it’s amazing to be part of such a renowned label too.
Bonobo – Age Of Phase [Ninja Tune]
I can rarely make a playlist without featuring Bonobo, he’s probably my all time favourite artist. I’ve been to see him live at every opportunity for the last 12 years and I feel that the material and live shows keep getting better and better, with the latest album being his best work yet, in my opinion. I saw him on this tour in my home town of Brighton — the atmosphere in the room was electric and when he dropped this tune it was a real goosebump moment.
Third Son – Your Face As Art [Shall Not Fade]
I’ve known Joe since he first started the Third Son project (as at the time we were part of the same booking agency), and I’ve watched him evolve and grow into one of the most exciting artists of the moment with a totally unique sound. I’m also a huge fan of Shall Not Fade as a label and the whole Third Son EP was fire, but this track in particular is literally everything I want from a piece of music on the dance floor. Epic.
Just Her – On The Low (Joyce Muniz Remix) [Selador]
Joyce Muniz is an amazing artist so I was super happy that she agreed to rework one of my older tracks on Selador. She managed to breathe new life into the tune and give it an incredible new dynamic aimed squarely at the dance floor. This one has just dropped on vinyl too.
Jamiie – Mussoya [Monaberry]
When it comes to proper melodic dance floor pumpers with a hint of Afro house, then Jamiie is the producer of the moment. This track on Monaberry has been featuring a lot in my recent sets and I just love the vibe of the vocal, which reminds me of many amazing visits to South Africa, as I’ve been lucky enough to tour there regularly. There is something truly emotional about afro melodies and vocals and Jamiie has nailed that with this track.
Just Her – Depend On Your Love [Anjunadeep]
Part of the incredible Anjunadeep 13 album alongside some amazing artists, as well as being the lead track on my recent EP, I’m really proud of this one in terms of the emotions and the atmosphere that I was trying to convey. I know I had that rare moment in the studio with this one, especially in the final section when the strings come in, where I sat back and actually thought, ‘wow’ — which hardly ever happens as I’m my own worst critic most of the time! So hopefully there is a bit of a goosebump vibe in there for people when they really listen deeply.
Officially launched on May 26th, the new label is kicking things off with a month-long production competition that is open to all women and non-binary artists. The Lady Of The House team — Jaguar, Charlie Tee, Sam Divine, Becky Hill (also known as the “Godmothers”) — will choose four winning submissions for the label’s debut release and provide mentoring support to each act. An established artist will then remix each track, and the winners will have a chance to play at a Lady Of The House showcase later this year.
Hyped by everyone from Peggy Gou to Gerd Janson at Panorama Bar, and even former Spice Girl Mel C, “Highdive” could be the tune of the summer.
Sometimes our best ideas take years to unfold — and sometimes they take an instant.
For their latest EP on Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound, which features a slamming Schacke remix, Berlin-based producers Gramrcy and John Loveless worked the main idea for “Highdive” in just over an hour (Gramrcy later fine tuned it) – and the results have been “humbling” so far, Loveless says. The two have remixed other artists together, but this is the pair’s debut original EP.
The track got a spin from former Spice Girl Mel C at the Pacha Ibiza opening party, and has already been worked into 2manyDJs’ live road show tour, custom animation included. Justice even played it at the Versailles palace in France. And other support has come from Peggy Gou, Gerd Janson, HAAi, Gabrielle Kwarteng, Palms Trax, and others.
With such strong support coming from so many places, we reached out to Loveless, who runs the Hot Concept label and has been a regular on Phantasy, who spoke about working with Peach Discs co-founder Gramrcy, and what it’s like to see a former Spice Girl play your tune.
How long have you and Graeme been production partners?
Just over two years, but I have known Graeme for a while longer, and we briefly shared an office in the past, where we would regularly swap music recommendations.
What was your inspiration for “Highdive”?
There was no direct inspiration as such, but having quickly finished the first draft, Graeme and I clocked that it had some of the energy we associated with some very over-the-top club records from when we were both first really into dance music. Artists such as MMM, Switch, Mr. Oizo and Roman Flügel as Alter Ego. Unapologetically big electro records with something unpredictable or plain weird about them.
What’s it like hearing your track get played by acts like Gerd Janson, Justice, and Mel C of the Spice Girls, at venues like Berghain, The Palace of Versailles and Pacha Ibiza?
In the case of Gerd playing it, I had emailed him an unfinished version while passing time in the queue for Berghain. I thought it would make a change from a last minute guestlist request. On this occasion, it worked out for both of us (and maybe even some dancers), as he unexpectedly played it later that evening in Panorama Bar. Albeit, at the exact moment that Graeme was downstairs getting himself an ice cream.
The video of Mel C spinning it at Pacha is so unbelievable that we’re still wondering if it might be a deep fake, whereas, to see Justice play it was very special. Cross was a formative album for the pair of us, and Versailles is a very inspiring location for anyone who’d like to see their own monarchy swiftly abolished.
What are your hopes for the track this summer?
To follow on from your previous question, it’s been extremely humbling to see what a diverse range of DJs, so we just hope that continues. Oh, and I want to hear the Schacke remix on the biggest system possible and potentially lose a further portion of my mind in the process.
On this latest release, the title track “Don’t Mind Me” cues things up with a classic house vibe before dipping into the tune “By My Side” with its tasty synth work and a concrete bassline that will leave you reeling. Finally, the EP ends with “Love Fantasy,” a fluttering summertime slammer that sounds like a blast of sunshine and will surely lift the spirits of any dance floor. Listen below.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Risa Taniguchi draws her sonic inspiration from the city’s electric atmosphere and unique underground scene. A beloved regular at some of the Japanese capital’s best-known clubs like Contact and Vent, the artist’s thrumming and acidic strain of techno has caught the attention of dance floor revelers worldwide.
This Guy EP follows up recent releases for Fort Romeau’s Cin Cin, Pan-Pot’s Second State, and her first release on Kneaded Pains, Rockim EP.
Across three tracks, Risa deploys a trio of shadowy yet vigorous club cuts, taking in rasping acid lines, twisted vocal loops, and haunting tones.
Each track is delivered with a pace and energy that will satisfy those with a love of the real techno sound. Listen below.
Not an addiction for which the two Sicilian-born, alternative electronic musicians would need to seek help. An addiction sustained by their fans, one that comes from a feeling they can only find on stage.
In September of 2019 Gioli, real name Giorgia Lipari, and Assia, real name Assia Nania, were performing in Bogotá, Columbia, providing their seething rendition of pop music delivered over melodic techno beats.
Lipari, the duo’s primary instrumentalist, was rhythmically tapping the handpan, a metal hand drum that produces melodic tones and serves as a centerpiece of the Gioli & Assia sound.
Nania, the duo’s primary vocalist, was manning the CDJs, ensuring the electronic elements were in sync with Lipari before she began singing their hit single, “Inside Your Head.”
It was in that moment they felt euphoria, when they became addicted.
“They were singing louder than us. How is this possible? We released this song in June and it’s September and they already know it,” Lipari says, dialing in with Nania from their home in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily. “Watching them being so happy to sing our song is the best thing ever. We are addicted to that feeling.”
Since Lipari and Nania experienced that feeling, they have used their live performance as a vehicle to drive the Gioli & Assia project on a journey to new heights, both literally and figuratively.
Literally because Lipari and Nania have journeyed to exotic locations to film their “#DiesisLive” video performances including the peak of an active volcano on the Eolian Islands, Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Iceland, and Punta Bianca Beach in Agrigento.
Figuratively in the sense that Lipari and Nania are at the point in their journey where they have risen to the height of a highly in-demand touring act. They’re selling out shows on the international circuit, and they invite their fans to join them on their journey at every gig.
“We think about our music in general, as the shows, as the videos, as the production, as a journey,” says Nania.
“When you love someone and you really want to get closer to their person, it is the same feeling that we want for our fans,” says Lipari, both of them doing an impressive job communicating their thoughts in their non-native English.
That intention of love and closeness is one that defines the Gioli & Assia project, as Lipari and Nania have been in a romantic relationship since March of 2015. Their union as a couple is the foundation upon which they have built their musical duo.
The two Sicilian natives initially connected in 2014, like many couples in the 21st century, through social media. Lipari had a Facebook page for her solo project (also under the name Gioli), and after Nania made some coquettish likes and comments, she eventually messaged Lipari directly asking for a song.
Lipari was happy to oblige, and then the two began talking constantly, quickly discovering their common goals for music, but more profoundly their connection as human beings that continues to support their partnership after more than seven years.
Speaking to them together, their chemistry is palpable and jovial. They’ll often talk over one another in a light-hearted fashion that rejects the idea of interrupting. Or they’ll finish each other’s sentences without missing a beat.
“When we met our goal was to have puppies, make music, travel the world, have a garden…” Lipari says.
“…and achieving all these goals together—it’s really amazing,” Nania says, completing the thought.
Beyond their authentic adoration for one another, there is also a sense of equilibrium. They have so much in common, but they also have inverse qualities that balance one another, creating a safe space for them to be honest with their feelings.
“We are never sad at the same time and we are never too excited at the same time,” says Lipari “For example, usually I’m the one that is a little bit more anxious and more negative. She knows that. But when I see Assia being anxious automatically I can’t be anxious anymore. I must be positive to balance.”
“Most of the time it’s always me being positive, but there are certain days that I am very down—” Nania says, unable to finish her thought before Lipari begins speaking again.
“When she’s negative, you know that it’s a negative time, so I’m trying to cook something even though it’s not my strength,” Lipari says with a laugh.
They are equally comfortable discussing their dynamic as human beings as they are their dynamic as musicians, and in February of 2020 they fully shared the nature of their relationship with the world via their music video for their song “Feel Good,” in which Lipari and Nania share a kiss.
Lipari and Nania were reluctant to share the video at first. They mulled over the decision for months, nervous that such a bold statement would hurt their career. Then around that same time, a performance of theirs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was canceled when the Malaysian government denied them entry into the country because they’re an LGBTQ couple.
The road to acceptance and inclusivity for all people is still a long one, but Lipari and Nania are determined to push for progress. They want to be an example for other LGBTQ artists, even if they may lose some fans.
“If [our fans] don’t love us, they don’t love us for who we are,” Lipari says. “If you like our music, our music exists because we are a couple.”
From a musical perspective, that couple started as manager-client with Nania initially serving as Lipari’s manager. It was in those beginning years they placed a strong emphasis on video content and applied a DIY mentality to every aspect of the project.
The earliest posts on the Gioli & Assia YouTube page are videos of the Gioli solo project. Some are videos of Lipari playing the handpan on her bed. Others are music videos for Gioli tracks like “Heji Yah,” which was the debut release on their own record label, Diesis Records, back in December 2016.
For their videos Lipari does all the editing, Nania does coloring, and since Nania taught Lipari Photoshop, they make all their graphics together as well.
“It’s difficult when you have an idea to tell someone else to do it. It’s something we’re not really good at because we really like every aspect of our job,” says Lipari.
“We are so picky and perfectionist, sometimes we hate ourselves,” Nania jests.
Nania had been interested in singing from a young age, but growing up in a town like Alcara Li Fusi with only 1,000 people, it was hard for her to imagine music as a profession. However, after being with Lipari who had been touring for years before they came together, she started to believe that music was her path forward. Or rather their path forward.
And so in 2017 they launched the Gioli & Assia project, which demonstrated their own bond and also provided complete creative freedom. They wanted to sing, to play piano, guitar, handpan, all the instruments at their disposal to honor their plethora of shared musical influences including Coldplay, Stromae, Radiohead, and more.
The club-heavy beats came into the fold for a simple reason:
“We really like underground music, and the reason why we play it is because we have fun dancing with it,” Lipari says.
Lipari and Nania immediately began working on an album, sharing numerous singles which culminated in their March 2018 debut album, Istantanee, following it up that August with another album, Night Experience, in August of that same year.
From there the release schedule slowed down a bit. Sparse singles started coming out in 2019, but Lipari and Nania wanted to do something bigger. They needed a new challenge, and that challenge was “#DiesisLive”.
“The reason why we did “#DiesisLive” in general was because we wanted the people to see what we can do and what we want to do live,” Lipari says.
Lipari and Nania filmed the first “#DiesisLive” performance on a cliffside in Milazzo, Sicily, and it was quite the success on YouTube, sitting at nearly 10 million views at the time of writing. While they were happy with that result, they knew they had to follow it up with something bigger.
“We know that the worst thing for an artist is to do the second thing. The second viral video. The second good album. The second hit,” says Lipari.
And so, for their second “#DiesisLive” Lipari and Nania chose an exciting and dangerous location: the peak of an active volcano on the Aeolian islands. But they didn’t stop there. On top of undergoing the logistical difficulties of filming a live set on top of a mountain, they needed a song for the momentous occasion, and that song became “Inside Your Head.”
“We wanted to express that vibe in total. The power of Mother Earth,” says Nania of “Inside Your Head.”
The scene of the second “#DiesisLive” opens at sunrise. The fiery colors one would pair with a volcanic eruption are instead hanging in the air as the morning light passes through the clouds. Lipari is on the handpan and Nania is on the CDJs, emanating smoke swirling around them, as they perform “Inside Your Head” to open.
“When we did the volcano it was so special, and everybody was impressed because there was the sunrise, the smoke, the music,” Lipari says. “We know when a video will be viral because we are the first that feel the emotion.” At the time of writing, this “#DiesisLive” has the highest views on the Gioli & Assia YouTube page with over 24 million.
The world now knew the tremendous feats Lipari and Nania were capable of, and ever since then, when they perform live, the world reciprocates the pure love and passion they pour into their music.
So much so that Lipari and Nania have an addiction to the feeling they get on stage, and they will continue to satiate that addiction as they tour in support of their upcoming album, Fire Hell and Holy Water, due out September 2022 on Ultra Records.
But before they could dive back into the euphoria, they needed to take time to remember who they are as individuals, who they are as a couple, and how fun it is to make music together, and the only place they could do that is back home in Sicily.
“When we came back from the US tour we spent all of January and February at home just to have fun again,” says Lipari.
“The music was very freely produced in the studio without boundaries. Without genres,” says Nania.
That process of creation and rest came before one of their most extravagant endeavors in their career, their recent trip to Iceland where they visited locations all around the country including filming a #DiesisLive video astride yet another volcano, Fagradalsfjall.
At first, Nania wasn’t into the idea of going to Iceland at all. It even got to the point that she said it was “never going to happen,” but Lipari kept pushing for it, and they eventually agreed.
“After five minutes I was convincing everyone else that we have to go there,” Nania says as Lipari laughs alongside her.
Lipari was set on Iceland because it offers such variance in its topography. Volcanoes, glacier lagoons, green cliffs, waterfalls. It’s a country with a huge amount of diversity and duality, which are two tenants that apply to Lipari and Nania on every level. Their music, their relationship, their personalities.
“We called our album Fire Hell and Holy Water, because fire and water are the opposite, but you need them both,” Lipari says. “We always played with this duality because we feel like it’s our story.”
That story, the story of Gioli & Assia, is not anywhere near its conclusion, and they welcome anyone to become a part of that story when they perform live.
Harry Levin is a freelance journalist living in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Linkedin.
Carl Cox will release Electronic Generations on September 16th, 2022.
Carl Cox’s 17-track album, Electronic Generations, marks the UK star’s return to the format for the first time in a decade, and is the result of Cox’s hybrid live sets, which he’s taken globally over the last few years, remixing, producing and creating music as he performs.
“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to release this album,” he said. “As a live artist and DJ I have the opportunity to play around the world and see people enjoying the shared experience, being together and dancing. I brought together all the elements I learned watching these crowds, added my sound and tried to give you guys a real electronic music experience.”
The album’s first single, “How It Makes You Feel” is a heavyweight techno stomper, made in collaboration with Nicole Moudaber. Their last collaboration, “See You Next Tuesday,” landed on Moudaber’s MOOD in 2014. The two have long been friends, and Moudaber was a regular guest at Carl’s famed weekly party series at Space Ibiza.
“When Carl asked me to work with him again, this time on a song from his new album, I knew this track had to deliver the powerful energy and rhythm that we always bring when we perform,” Moudaber said. ‘How It Makes You Feel’ has rocked dance floors around the world and I’m so excited to finally release this monster track!”
Electronic Generations will be released on September 16th, 2022 via BMG.
The EP marks a return to Brejcha’s roots, following a stint spent over at Ultra Music, where he amassed legions of fans with chart-topping hits like “Gravity,” “Never Look Back,” and “EXIT.”
The two tracks on this latest release have been staples of every gig he’s played for some time now, including his performances at Tomorrowland, EDC Las Vegas, Kappa Futur, and his own shows around the world.
The title track, “Up Down Jumper,” is a brilliant and precise demonstration of his championed “high-tech minimal” sound, while the b-side, “Keep Rollin,” sees Brejcha dipping into electro territory with talkative synth sequences that drive the tune. Listen below.
The Italian star’s new time-limited label is meant to serve as “an intervention to the notion of perpetual music,” opting for a planned out musical venture with a set expiration date that will only grow in intensity over the next three years.
During the countdown to NINETOZERO’s inevitable conclusion, Enrico Sangiuliano aims to craft a series of opuses with refined techno compositions that concentrate on the here and now.
The journey starts today with chapter nine, Silence EP — a four-track package that begins and ends with two alternative versions of the record’s ethereal and grandiose title track. Following the cinematic opening, “Future Dust” takes the label’s ephemeral messaging to heart, featuring the sound of a ticking clock that crescendos into a driving, peak-time dance floor devastator. “New Expressions Of Love” follows suit with wiling synth arrangements and moments of pause that give further gravitas to the track’s numerous and unpredictable twists and turns. Listen below.
“As with everything in the universe, the only constant is change,” says Sangiuliano in speaking about his new label. “I’ll go through this evolutionary path for three years, from the beginning to the end — from 9 to 0. Let’s embrace it and grab it while it exists! Nothing lasts forever.”
Today, Beatport is proud to announce a collaboration with Technopol, the largest and most prominent association for electronic music in France.
As part of the partnership, Beatport will host two streams from the legendary Parc de la Villette in Paris every month. Aptly called the KNAL Stream, the location offers views of the Canale St Martin, and each broadcast will showcase a diverse array of incredible local talent, offering growth and visibility to these exciting French artists. DJ equipment will be provided by Pioneer DJ, a Beatport partner, and Beatport will be organizing monthly webinars on a variety of topics. Through this partnership, Beatport hopes to better serve local French artists and labels, helping introduce them to a wider global audience.
Beatport is also heading to Paris Electronic Week 2022, which takes place from 21 – 24 September. We’ll keep you updated as we announce activities there.
The two NYC-based artists join forces on Armada Subjekt to create a high-powered tech house tune that pays homage to Inner City’s iconic dance floor hit “Good Life.”
Carlos and Tyler, congratulations on your Beatport number 1 hit, “Let Me Take You!” How are you?
CID: Doing great! Riding high, we are both super excited to see “Let Me Take You” is #1, and my collaboration with Will K “OoooH” is sitting at #3 overall!
Westend: Never been better. This is my first Beatport #1 (after a couple of close calls), and I am feeling overjoyed to be able to have this accomplishment under my belt.
“Let Me Take You” is a rework of Inner City’s classic Detroit Techno hit “Good Life.” Why did you want to give a spin on this track in particular? And how did you team up for this one?
CID: This one just came about the same way as our first collaboration, “Jumpin’,” did. Just us messing around in the studio until we came up with something that got us both excited. The original is such a classic. We hadn’t heard any recent versions with the vocal, and it just felt right to put our twist on it. Big shoutout to Inner City and Kevin Saunderson for letting us use their iconic vocal!!
Westend: We both love the original vocal as it’s a classic, and it worked really well with the groove we had going in the studio. “Let Me Take You” is such a simple record because the Inner City sample is so iconic and catchy. We didn’t need to add much else.
The words “Good Life” are never heard in your track. Yet, because the original vocals by Paris Grey are part of the dance canon, everyone who’s listening to “Let Me Take You” is automatically adding the missing words in their heads which makes the track one big tease. Is this a technique that you’ve taken from Djing?
CID: It wasn’t intentional, to be honest. We were just messing with the “Let Me Take You” part, and it gave the track a bit of a darker feel than the original, and that’s why we ended up sticking with just that.
Westend: For me, it’s important that samples are used creatively and intentionally in music. I hear a lot of tech house tracks that will throw in an acapella as is and call it a day. I love to repurpose the vocal sample into new FX sounds and leads that weren’t in the originally sampled track, which is what we did for “Let Me Take You.” We didn’t say, “Hey, let’s leave out the words ‘good life,'” but I think we just wanted to keep things fresh and interesting.
You are both from New York. Do you have a favourite club in the city?
CID: I think the newly renovated Brooklyn Mirage took New York nightlife to a whole new level. It’s pretty insane what they’ve built there. I don’t know if you can call it a club because it’s outdoors and it’s massive, but I would say that it’s definitely my favorite venue in New York right now.
Westend: My favorite club at the moment is also the Brooklyn Mirage (not really a club but whatever). Before that, it was Output which had immaculate vibes and a really good sound system.
Have you got further collaborations in the plans?
CID: Nothing planned at the moment, but it’s always fun getting in the studio with Westend. We both bring different techniques to the table and end up learning little tips and tricks from each other. I’m sure we’ll get back in to make more music at some point soon!
Westend: We like to go b2b between a bottle of tequila every now and then, but no new tracks at the moment. I think we gotta make it a yearly tradition at this point, though.
Take control of your music, and bring your Beatport playlists and libraries anywhere with the new and improved Beatport Mobile App — available on iOS and Android.
Beatport has upgraded its powerful mobile app, making it available for all to enjoy, even those without a Beatport subscription!
Designed to empower DJs’ creative workflow and optimize mobile-friendly music search, the Beatport Mobile App is the perfect tool for managing your Beatport library and discovering new music on-the-go.
The launch of The Beatport Mobile App 1.2 makes it easier than ever to create an account and get started right from the login screen. We’ve also added the ability to preview pre-orders and “download only” tracks, which were previously unavailable on the app; added pre-orders to playlists and the ability to shuffle both playlists and releases, with enabled notifications that will alert you before adding duplicate tracks to a playlist.
Check out the video below to get a complete walkthrough of what Beatport Mobile has to offer.
With the Beatport Mobile app, you can effortlessly create playlists on-the-go and discover new music as you dig into our genre pages, top releases, and expertly curated charts from our staff and some of dance music’s biggest acts. In addition, you can follow your favorite genres, artists, and labels to make sure you never miss a release through your personalized My Beatport feed.
You can take full advantage of the app and do away with two-minute previews by signing up for Beatport Streaming($9.99/month). With a Beatport subscription, you get full-track playback and waveform control across the mobile app, the Beatport DJ web app, the Beatport site, and unlimited re-downloads of purchased tracks. Try out a free 30-day trial here!
Whether you’re looking to add a few fresh tracks to your set just before a gig or to create the perfect playlist for spontaneous dance parties with your friends, the Beatport Mobile app will help you harness inspiration whenever and wherever it strikes.
The Beatport Mobile App is compatible with both Apple and Android Devices.
Progressive house kingpin Spencer Brown celebrates Pride 2022 with a distinctive and diverse list of dance floor weapons for Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
It’s an honor to make Beatport’s Playlist of the Week during Pride! I appreciate the invitation.
I love building sets that incorporate vastly different styles. Oftentimes, magic is created by mixing the unexpected. Because I play anywhere — from jungles to warehouses, tiny clubs to massive festivals — there’s a diverse selection of music in this playlist. Many of these tracks I found via Shazam while on the dance floor myself. That’s the best place to learn and grow as an artist. I live my life with an open ear. You never know where you’ll hear a secret weapon.
I hope you find music that resonates with you, and Happy Pride Month!
Invōker is one of my favorite producers. His music is forward-thinking, and it sits in its own unique space. I found this track via Shazam during his own set; it lit up the room that night and went straight into my crates. A brilliant track that sounds like nothing else
Rodriguez Jr. – Kenopsia [Mobilee Records]
I found this track while I was at university in 2015. The mood it creates still gives me chills. It heavily inspired my debut album, Illusion of Perfection. Those bells!
Spencer Brown – 18 Min Loop [diviine]
My debut release on my own label, diviine, showcased this track I never thought I’d play live. It was made to be music for highway driving, until I saw videos of John Digweed playing it in Argentina! After seeing such great reactions, I started playing it. It turned into an amazing moment in my sets.
Moojo, Arodes – Reborn [MoBlack Records]
What a tune. Energy, emotion, warmth, and nostalgia. This erupts any dancefloor, from an outdoor sunrise set in the jungle to a massive warehouse late at night. Never fails.
Plaster Hands – Black Guitar [Downtown Underground]
I finished a set in Tulum right before Paco Osuna. I decided to stick around, being a big fan of Paco. I found this via Shazam, and it turned into a great groover for my own sets. I’m a sucker for funky guitar. Thanks, Paco.
Peter Bailey, Carlos Fauvrelle – Jungle Hunt (Percussive Mix) [Insert Coin]
I was playing B2B with Qrion, when she pulled out this track from 2011. I have no idea where she found it, but it went straight into my crates. It’s a bomb. Thanks Q.
Volen Sentir – Mitra [Lost & Found]
Laid back, stunning deep track for moments of reflection. Guy J’s Lost & Found is undoubtedly one of my favorite labels. Always fire. This one is a standout.
Kerri is a legend. This timeless groove is a great tool when I need to change keys between two tracks that don’t mix. I made a personal edit of this track with a tweaked arrangement and some bass stabs. Tools are just as important as peak time tracks.
Morpei – Siente El Rhythm [Music is 4 Lovers]
That acid line! Yet another track I found via Shazam, this time via David Hohme, who is one of my favorite DJs. It erupts on any dance floor. Thanks, David!
The Wash – Manifest [Mango Alley]
Hypnotic progressive groover. The upbeat bouncy vibe reminds me of reggae in a strange way, evoking feelings of nostalgia from my childhood.
Afriqua – Aleph [R&S Records]
I am such a fan of Afriqua right now! His music and personality are both great. I initially found this via Shazam from a Patrice Bäumel set. Pat always finds the heat. I played this at an after-afterparty, and it created a unique energy as the sun was coming up.
Joseph Ray – Changing Lanes
For me, this is the best track on Anjuna in 2022. I was grateful to have my hands on this one before the release (thanks, Joe). I think this will be a future classic.
House music up-and-comers DOMii, AKKI, and Tara Bloom head up J. Worra’s fresh remix package for Club Sweat and the 23by23 campaign.
The #23by23 campaign is a call to action for all record labels in electronic music to help boost the percentage of female and LGBTQ+ artists signed to independent dance music imprints to a higher rate of 23% (the percentage currently sits around 2-5%).
Launched in November of 2021 and spearheaded by techno heavyweight Rebekah and Canadian dance music linchpin Sydney Blu, the campaign aims to meet this goal by 2023.
In order to discover new, talented female, trans and non-binary producers, 23by23 partnered with Native Instruments to launch a community on their platform Metapop to host remix competitions in collaboration with these labels.
And Australian imprint Club Sweat has revealed the three winning remixes of Los Angeles tech house stalwart J. Worra‘s hit tune “YOU (feat. Cat Connors).” Featuring surefire reworks from Puerto Rican artist DOMii, Brooklyn-based DJ/producer AKKI, and Brisbane’s own Tara Bloom, this remix package is an exquisite example of this worthwhile campaign giving promising talent the attention they deserve. Listen to the remix EP below.
In addition, J.Worra and all three remixers — along with 23by23 director Sydney Blu — have created fresh Beatport Charts to celebrate their release and the arrival of Pride 2022, which you can check out below.
We sat down for a conversation with drum & bass royalty, Andy C, whose fabled RAM Records turns 30 this year.
When Beatportal catches up with UK drum & bass legend Andy C, he’s just returned from a huge Australian tour. “The vibe out there was just insane. All five shows were so beautiful with the crowds and the reactions to the music.” Despite playing three-and-a-half-hour sets, he says that “the audiences were just as nutty at the end as they were at the start.”
Although he’s back in the thick of it post-pandemic and making up for lost time, Andy is just thrilled to be back out and DJing again. “Some weekends you can be playing in four countries in three days and then, at first, you feel like you want to rest after a tour.” But “you get really itchy feet,” he says.
These wide-ranging global bookings are emblematic of how massive a part Andy and his label RAM Records have played in the worldwide rise of the genre, even though he originally started the label for fun.
After attending his first rave, aged 13 (“my sister took me and it was in a barn”), the wheels were set in motion for what followed. “It blew my mind, then I went to school on Monday slightly obsessed with what I’d experienced at the weekend,” he laughs. Growing up, Andy also listened to pirate radio stations in Essex and cycled to his local record store in Romford after school. And Andy says it’s no exaggeration to say that he “camped” there. “I was there so much that they gave me a job.”
This 24/7 exposure to dance music was formative for Andy, and discovering music and buying records soon became an obsession. Naturally, after raiding his piggy bank and borrowing some money from his parents, he picked up a set of Audio-Technica Belt-Drive turntables. Soon he found Shut Up & Dance, the UK duo who combined hip-hop, house and hardcore. Inspired, Andy began making mixtapes for his friends at school, gravitating towards breakbeats that had funky beats and samples from old soul records. Jungle and drum & bass came along around the same time.
Photo by: Gavin Wallace
In 1992, when Andy finished school, his mum told him that he needed to get a job. “I remember, I was having dinner and my mum was like ‘right, you got to get a job, because this isn’t a summer holiday’,” he laughs, aged 16 at the time. “Back then, there wasn’t an option of going to college or university. It was just like going straight out of school and then into a job,” he adds. Luckily, Andy’s sister had an idea.
“She said to me, ‘why don’t you start a record label?’ so we looked into it there and then,” Andy remembers. Everything fell into place from that moment: his sister suggested the name, RAM Records, drew up the original logo in felt tip pen on a bit of scrap paper and Andy looked in the Yellow Pages to find a record label printing company. While he spoke on the phone with the printer, Andy boldly asked if they knew how to press records, and the printers hooked him up with someone who could help. With his sister’s design in the mail and ready for printing, Andy’s label was born.
By the time Andy returned from his first parent-free holiday to Magaluf that summer, the first RAM label pressing was there waiting for him. “My dad came and picked us up at the airport and in the boot of the car was the debut release,” he says.
The idea of running a label and “doing something that I love” excited Andy, because it meant he “wouldn’t need to get a proper job. It was like, ‘Well I’ll give this a go and see what happens’,” he says, having approached it as “an exciting adventure.”
Andy particularly enjoyed the DIY physicality of everything back then, especially because the community was based around record stores. “At the weekends, you’d go, and that’s how you’d get flyers to find out what events were on, and then hear new music”.
Because Andy had recently started producing, he initially envisioned RAM as a platform for his solo creations. But plans changed after his 1993 song “Valley of the Shadows” became an underground hit. Written as drum & bass duo Origin Unknown with friend Ant Miles, many of the track’s drum sounds were sampled from the free CD that came in the magazine sleeve of an early issue of the UK’s Future Magazine. Even more incredibly, the duo wrote the track, which was originally released as a B-side, in just four hours. It’s since become one of the label’s best-selling tracks, and one of its most recognizable.
As RAM gained traction, they brought friends like Shimon to the label. His 1994 track “Predator” became a RAM fan favourite. By 1997, the label released its first RAM Records compilation, with a second following a year later. The next three years saw Andy and his tight crew carry the RAM legacy into the new millennium, when they finally began bringing fresh talent into the fold, many of whom became international d&b scene leaders.
Andy recalls being handed a demo CD at a gig, which featured two tracks called “X-Ray” and “Scarecrow.” “I went home and listened to them a few days later and they absolutely blew my mind,” Andy recalls. They were early works by Nicolaas Douwma, who would later become Sub Focus.
Andy immediately tried to call him, but one digit from the phone number Douwma had left on the CD was barely visible. So Andy did what any sane person would do in the age before social media existed: he guessed, trying variation after variation before finally dialing the right digits. Douma’s first release, X-Ray / Scarecrow, landed in 2005 on Frequency, the RAM sister label that Andy launched in 2002.
Around 2003, Andy was invited to host a RAM club night at The End in London. “To be asked to do a night there was just amazing,” he says. “I’ve got a few memories… and I’ve definitely got a few lost memories, too,” Andy laughs. “It was legendary. You can’t even express how important that was,” he adds, recalling the impressive sound system and the DJ booth placement, which was in the middle of the club, so he was surrounded by the crowd. RAM eventually threw parties there every two months.
The label was firing on all cylinders too. And Andy and his team were so inundated with demos that in 2012 they launched a second sister label, Program, as a place for more experimental takes on d&b. “It was about trying to bring through as many artists as possible,” he says.
Meanwhile, RAM artists kept on becoming household names, including Chase & Status and Wilkinson. “I remember meeting Chase & Status at a Chinese restaurant in Church End and them wanting to have big albums and sell out arenas. It was great to discover their vision and the hunger, and that to later manifest in albums. Their debut, More Than A Lot, was incredible.”
Andy also remembers being handed a demo CD of Wilkinson’s “massive tune” “Afterglow” and playing it in his kitchen for the first time. “I had just made a cup of tea and the track absolutely blew my mind. I could just tell that this guy was on completely the right track,” he says. The song showcased a sound and dynamic that he’d not heard before, and in the summer of its release in 2013, the track became a feature of the festival circuit.
Despite his initial excitement over “Afterglow,” Andy never imagined RAM would find such commercial crossover success. “You never start out with that aim,” he says. “It happened naturally.”
The first RAM Records track to hit the charts and get daytime radio play was “Body Rock,” Andy’s 2001 collaboration with Shimon. “It was very unexpected, yet took on a new lease of life,” he adds. To get such recognition, and later with other artists on the label, has been a “beautiful thing” for Andy. And while there isn’t a specific criteria he looks for when signing a track or artist, Andy suggests that it’s about “finding a moment that really talks to you, whether that’s a synth arrangement or chord sequence.”
That’s not to say Andy is completely hands-off during the production process, occasionally offering feedback and advice to younger artists. “That’s where I hopefully help new artists because you can hear great things in the demo. It might not be right for release, but it’s trying to give that artist the confidence in order to strive to get their tune to that place where it can be released.”
Due to the past few pandemic years, Andy and his team saved up plenty of tunesm, getting ready for the return of festivals and for clubs to reopen. “I was sort of not quite sure what to do. It felt like it didn’t make sense to release songs that are made for parties when people aren’t able to go out,” Andy says.
Instead, the label adapted by throwing a virtual party that was live-streamed to tens of thousands of people worldwide. “It was amazing, and actually ended up giving a real good exposure to the music because the tracklist was also shared online. It became a fantastic platform to expose new styles and new artists,” he says.
It also helped Andy personally, as it enabled him to feel a connection that had been missing through the Covid-19 lockdown. “The feeling of unity was beautiful because, as a person who has been DJing out every week for God knows how long, it left such a hole in my life. Before that, it was like I was constantly running — and then it just stopped.”
If one positive did come from the lockdown, though, Andy says it is that d&b is “having a bit of a moment.” Though he’s not entirely sure why that is, he believes “it’s the healthiest it’s been in years. And, at the same time, it feels like a whole new generation coming through and making tunes. It means that, if you’re at a festival, you’re going to have three decades’ worth of people enjoying d&b.”
Although Andy is the first to admit that he’s “biased, because it’s my life,” he thinks the recent popularity is going to result in a huge summer festival season. But, because so many new artists are coming through, he says “it’s hard to keep on top of the scene, but it feels like a lot of new people are going to get some fantastic exposure”.
When it comes to his own label, RAM remains the vanguard for UK drum & bass. Even after three decades of incredible releases and unforgettable parties, nobody does d&b quite like RAM.
With Beatport Insider, we dig into key stats from the Beatport store each month. This time, we look at the artists and labels that dominated our Dance / Electro Pop sales and streaming charts for the past six months.
All three artists made it into the top five spots as the most-streamed & best-selling Dance acts on Beatport, sitting alongside the triumphant trio Swedish House Mafia and the Mad Decent label leader, Diplo.
SPINNIN’ RECORDS refuses to be dethroned as the genre’s leading label, and the French DJ/producer Hugel locks it in as Beatport’s number one trending Dance artist of 2022.
10 Top-Selling Dance / Electro Pop Tracks
Check out our Beatport Chart of the Top 10 Best Selling dance / electro pop tracks here.
10 Most Streamed Dance/ Electro Pop Tracks
Check out our Beatport Chart featuring The 10 Most Streamed dance / electro pop tracks here.
Brazilian house and techno selector Joyce Muniz shares the sounds that have been rocking her dance floors lately for Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
I am very happy to curate the Beatport weekly playlist. This playlist contains music that I have been playing lately on my gigs or my radio shows. You’re gonna hear some music from friends and artists that I admire and also some music from my own catalogue. Some of the tunes are new and some of the tunes are old.
My DJ mixes are always very diverse between house, acid, electro and dark disco. Also my productions go through different genres. If a track touches my heart, I don’t think about how old it is or what kind of genre it is, I go with the flow of the quality of the sound and the energy it brings.
The first track of my list is my latest remix for my dear friend Alinka featuring the house music legend Robert Owens. The remix is very different from my usual productions. I am happy that the remix got so many friends. The remix came out last month on HE.SHE.THEY.
Luke Brancaccio & Gai Barone – Brokheimer (Renato Cohen Remix) [Renaissance Records]
The new remix from Renato Cohen for Luke Brancaccio & Gai Barone is awesome. Renato has been a very important figure of the Brazilian electronic music scene for decades. He is not only a great producer but also a great DJ.
Joyce Muniz – Crystalline [Exploited]
The third track of my list is a tune from my own catalogue. “Crystalline” came out during the crazy days of the pandemic when all the clubs were closed. I couldn’t believe that tune got a lot of support from great DJs even though the club was closed. This tune became a very important and special reference of my productions and I’m happy to see DJs playing “Crystalline” in Clubs now after a year after the release.
Redshape – Release Me (Base Mix) [Running Back]
The fourth track on my list is a pick from the latest EP from Redshape which came out on Running Back early this month. The whole EP is great. It’s been a while since Redshape released new stuff. I am a huge fan of his productions. His new EP is a must have.
O.N.O – Days Of Past [Exploited]
O.N.O is a producer duo from Paris (Nathalie and Rudy) who have gotten my attention since their first release on Exploited back in 2020. I really like their style. Their latest single, ‘’Days of Past,’’ is very nice and very well produced.
Romain FX – Convention Of Love बॉलीवुडरेव [Polari Records]
“Convention Of Love बॉलीवुडरेव” is such amazing tune, which came out on Cormac’s imprint Polari Records. This tune became one of my favourite openers. I love the way Romain Placed the Indian vocals and the acid line after the main break…Wow what a great combination.
Kungs, Boys Noize – Fashion [Universal Music Division Island Def Jam]
Fashion is such a great tune you can mix in all kinds of sets, disco, house, acid. Alex (Boys Noize) knows how to do it right. He is one of my favourite producers since ages and definitely one of the most important references for me.
Captain Mustache & Chicks On Speed – Good Weather Girl (Joyce Muniz Remix) [Permanent Vacation]
Captain Mustache is a young talented producer that has been making a lot of noises with his quality productions. We became virtual friends during the pandemic. One day he called me to ask if I would like to remix his tracks featuring Chick On Speed. Of course I said yes. Chicks On Speed is a legendary electro band that was very important for my career as a female artist. It was an honour to remix this tune.
This remix by my dear friend TERR is awesome. It came out a couple of years ago, but it is still super fresh and works very well. She did a great production on this one.
Sandy B – Make the World Go Round (Deep Dish Round the World Remix) [Champion Records]
This remix by Deep Dish, aka Dubfire and Sharam, came out in 1997. The first time I listened to it was on the radio and I fell in love with the vibe and energy of this tune. It took me a few years to find this tune on vinyl. It’s a timeless one that’s why I have been closing my sets lately with this jam. It is sunny and positive.
In partnership with the UK’s leading techno festival, Junction 2, and Pixelynx — the new music metaverse gaming platform created by musicians and technologists deadmau5 and Richie Hawtin — we have created a limited NFT collection, and they look pretty amazing!
This special Synth Heads x Junction 2 collection will be limited to 300 NFTs in total with minting priced at 0.15 ETH.
From 1 AM EST / 6 PM BST today, fans will be able to start minting their own Synth Heads x Junction 2 NFTs at SynthHeads.com.
Top it up with Ethereum (we recommend Moonpay for buying crypto)
Synth Heads x Junction 2 will give fans exclusive access to a range of benefits including, but not limited to, membership to the Synth Head community, day passes to Junction 2 Festival 2022, exclusive vinyl releases, merchandise from Beatport and Junction 2, and ongoing exclusive access to ticket drops.
Five random Synth Heads out of the 300 NFT public collection will unlock a Golden Ticket that provides full festival access across both days, backstage artist bar and queue jump entry access, and tickets to Junction 2’s next large scale London event later this summer as well as a high-quality print of their NFT. OneUltra RareNFT in the collection will unlock additional Lifetime Access to the festival + 1, forever!
Junction 2 Festival takes place this year in Trent Park, London, June 18 + 19, 2022, and features performances from Amelie Lens, Dixon, Four Tet, Robert Hood, TSHA, and many more. Check out more info on the festival’s website here.
We dig into the nocturnal sound of the up-and-coming Dutch imprint, The Myth of NYX — Beatport’s Hype Label of the Month.
A music label with a sound and aesthetic that the Greek gods of old inspire, the Dutch imprint The Myth of NYX pays homage to one of Mount Olympia’s most revered champions, Nyx — the goddess of the night. Founded in 2019, the label has quickly made a name for itself in crafting copious amounts of divine dance floor weapons that have become staples in the sets of high-caliber DJs across the globe. Embracing the essence of the night with their shadowy and nefarious strain of tech house, The Myth of NYX touts releases from the likes of Chapter & Verse, DONT BLINK, Redux Saints, Truth x Lies, Volac, and more.
Here, the label’s leaders Geno and Aart introduce their imprint and walk us through some of The Myth of NYX’s most essential tunes for our Beatport Hype Label of the Month feature.
Amsterdam-based deep tech maestro Luuk van Dijk takes us on a tour of Amsterdam’s dance floors with 10 essential cuts.
Born and raised in a town called Hilversum, it was a life-changer moving to Amsterdam! Seven years ago, when I was 19, I left the nest to pursue my DJ career, and I thought (logically) to get booked here, I had to be here. It was crazy first experiencing what kind of nightlife this city has to offer, all within a 20-minute bike ride distance.
At that time, there were tons of really good clubs with all their own identities, and every weekend I went to four to five clubs, checking out DJs, networking, and showing my face. As every club had the best DJs and they all with their own sound, I got so inspired when I jumped into the studio.
I got so many opportunities in this beautiful city, and I’m very thankful for that! But hey, we’re here for the music, so let me show you some tracks that I’ve discovered on a dancefloor somewhere in Amsterdam throughout the years.
Slapfunk is one of my favorite parties in Amsterdam. It’s all about real underground house music, and the DJs that play there always bring their a game. Expect the rarest oldskool records, bass face guaranteed. My fave DJ from Holland Samuel Deep threw this record at Brett, and it went off!
HearThuG – Planet Rhythm X [Banoffee Pies Records]
Talking about Brett, I heard my good friend Boris Werner playing this and sent us all to space. I love this weird little tune, and I think this is what music on the moon sounds like.
David Dega- Moonstruck [Night & Day Ibiza Music]
When I visited my first festival ever back in 2013 (Loveland Queensday), I heard Dubfire play this, and I remember this as the first tech house track that blew me away. It still gives me goosebumps when I think back to that moment when I heard this track on a big stage with thousands of people.
Nail – Slap My Ass [Classic Music Company]
I spent a lot of time at Claire, a lovely club at Rembrandtplein that sadly closed her doors a couple of years ago. After spending numerous nights at this place, they even gave me my own residency night where I had artists like Djebali, DJ Steaw, Phil Weeks, Richy Ahmed and even Chris Stussy before he blew up! I can’t remember who played this record, but I still play it after many years!
Blunted Dummies – House For All (John Acquaviva Original Edit) [Get Physical Music]
I heard Mandar (S.A.M., Malin Genie, Lazare Hoche) a while ago at Shelter, one of my favorite clubs that Amsterdam now has to offer (I also have a residency there now). They played this tune, and I absolutely loved it. This track gives me warm feelings every time I listen to it!
Nature Love – You Turn Me Around (Karu Mix) [Love International Recordings]
At 2021’s ADE, which is always the best time of the year, I was checking out my friend Seth Troxler at Circoloco x Loveland. He was playing after Kölsch, and he dropped this tune. Talk about warm feelings! Just a very nice track to vibe to. I absolutely love it.
Mood II Swing – Move Me (Alternative Version) [Music For Your Ears]
When I first moved to Amsterdam. I would spend a lot of time digging for new music during the day. Mary Go Wild, a record shop at Zeedijk, is the place where I always felt the most comfortable. While digging through all the second-hand crates, I suddenly found this one: 909 hats, repetitive catchy bassline, and a crazy funky drum loop.
Lauhaus – Collectify [Soweso Records]
Amsterdam and minimal music go way back, and guys like Lauhaus, Kabale Und Liebe, Onno, Boris Werner, and the club Studio 80 (which also closed its doors and became Claire) were a big part of this. I’m still a bit sad that I missed this big minimal era like 13+ years ago. So if you want to find some good underground tech house / minimal tracks, check out these artists (mentioned earlier), and you’re in for a treat.
The festival I’ve played the most would easily be STRAF_WERK Festival, I can’t remember who exactly played this track, but when I heard it, I lost it. A great track again by two of the three guys from Mandar. Slammer!!
Julien Fuentes – Wake De Man (JF Dress It Mix) [Dark Side Of The Sun]
If you ask me, Julien Fuentes is one of Amsterdam’s most promising acts. I had the honor to release a couple of his amazing work on my label Dark Side Of The Sun. You might’ve heard this one if you have seen me playing lately!
Le Youth’s highly-anticipated debut album Reminders is out now via This Never Happened.
Los Angeles-based DJ and producer Le Youth‘s debut album has arrived.
First making a name for himself by pumping out jaunty and carefree house tracks for labels like Ultra, SPINNIN’ DEEP, and Homewerk, the last three years have seen the US artist take a radical turn in his musical output. This sonic rediscovery came after collecting vintage studio gear and obsessing over the history behind each piece of equipment, finding a new dance floor calling in their analog essence.
Following a deluge of melodic and progressive releases on Anjunabeats, Armada, and his PRGRSSN Records imprint, this culmination of three years of synth experimentation now comes to a head with the arrival of his RemindersLPon Lane 8’s celebrated label, This Never Happened. Featuring top-notch collaborations with acts like Sultan + Shepard, Gordi, LeyeT, RBBTS, and more, the 14-track album is a euphoric rollercoaster packed with radiant melodies and soul-stirring arrangements. Listen below.
“The theme behind this album and the title ‘Reminders’ may seem obvious, but for me, it’s more nuanced,” says Le Youth. “Reminders are feelings of nostalgia and unexpected memories. Like remembering a past life when I turn down that street we used to live on or hearing that album that we stayed up all night listening to.”
We speak to Bonar Bradberry of PBR Streetgang about his long-anonymous project Vyvyan, who has a new album coming soon on Man Power’s Me Me Me.
Mysteriously arriving in 2018 with “a sound that could as easily be from a Baltimore basement or an Illegal rave in Brixton,” the source behind the anonymous moniker Vyvyan has kept underground enthusiasts guessing ever since. In this exclusive interview with Beatportal, Vyvyan is revealing his identity to the world.
Vyvyan is Bonar Bradberry — the widely lauded DJ and producer who makes up one-half of the Leeds duo PBR Streetgang. With his brother in arms Tom Thorpe, PBR Streetgang has traversed the globe with their spot-on arsenal of house and indie disco cuts for over 17 years, earning them an immensely loyal fanbase. In addition to their own KURTZ Records imprint, they’ve released on labels like 2020 Vision, Hot Creations, Skint Records, Wolf Music, Futureboogie, and many more, treating us to fiery hits like “Late Night Party Line” and their remix of David Christie’s “Back Fire.”
As Vyvyan, Bradberry first tested the waters with his anonymous alias on Man Power’s label Me Me Me — Beatport’s Label of the Month — via his remix of Artist Deleted’s “Track Deleted.” With untethered and eclectic rave energy guiding the principles of its sound, his Vyvyan project was quick to gain support amongst hotshot selectors like Metro Area, Roman Flügel, Marco Carola, and more, with further releases like “Source Rocks” and “Coat Bra Pants” getting remix treatments from Paul Woolford and Gerd Janson, respectively.
With a debut album under his Vyvyan moniker on the horizon, Bradberry has lifted the veil to tell us why he’s now chosen to uncover his anonymous alias. He also discusses his relationship with Man Power’s Me Me Me label, the heartfelt dedication behind his new LP, and more.
Hey Bonar, thanks for joining us! How has 2022 been so far? Any highlights?
Thank you, it’s been a great one so far given the two that came before!
Feels like life isn’t on hold anymore. I’ve had a remix out on Tusk Wax of a La Mano tune and a one that just dropped this past week on Sound De Jour with Man 2.0.
As far as highlights I’m really looking forward to playing at Gottwood Festival next month with Man Power b2b as part of the Me Me Me x Gottwax takeover.
How and when did you first dream up your Vyvyan moniker, and what made you decide to keep it anonymous?
It came to life about four or five years ago as an idea. I found I was writing a lot of music that was a departure from things I’d done previously. My style has been fairly eclectic in the past but I wanted to try something that has a more specific focus. I was drawing from influences that were more rough and crude but very visceral and immediate — all the things that excited me about music as a kid basically, I was trying to tap into that initial feeling of joy and wonder I had listening to tape packs and CDs from the ’90s. That said, I didn’t want it to be a pure revivalist, nostalgia kind of thing. It still needed to be focused through the lens of the person I am now and all the experiences that a career (if you can call it that) in electronic music has formed.
The reasons for anonymity came mainly from two places. I don’t think I’m alone in saying my creative process swings between borderline narcissistic confidence and crippling self-doubt, when the two balance each other out you can hope to make something pretty good (there’s probably an amusing meme for it somewhere).
So part of it came from using anonymity as some kind of survival blanket during a period where I was struggling with my self-image, identity, and worth. If the music didn’t have my name on it I felt like I couldn’t be judged directly and that gave me breathing space to continue.
The other part of it was that while I’ve been lucky enough to be releasing music for 15 years now, for better or worse people will always listen to new music from someone in the context of the person’s past work, it’s just a natural thing we all do. I’m not saying that’s a good or bad thing, it’s just what happens, so it will instantly create a bias one way or another before a note has been played.
With this project I wanted it to be listened to with the least prejudice as possible, if that makes sense, to see if it could or would stand up on its own without my past work helping or hindering it.
Why reveal Vyvyan’s identity to the world now?
It just seems like a good time. The project has been going on long enough for it to stand on its own, separate from my other work. But I also just don’t feel much like that person who started the project that wanted to hide away. It feels like that’s just a futile exercise these days and life is just far too short — it’s simply not as big a thing in my head as I was making it out to be! Mystery is for Daft Punk and the Catholic Church…
How did you first get linked up with Geoff (Man Power) to release on Me Me Me?
Geoff and I had been friends for years through a sort of dysfunctional circuit of DJs, producers, party throwers, and goers in the UK before the label started. So I was very comfortable sharing and swapping music with him. I really admired what he did with his own Man Power project and how he’d gone about things (it was also anonymous initially) so it seemed natural to be talking to him about it. Looking back I think he sort of coaxed me out of my shell a bit to release some of it. I still wasn’t 100 percent sure what I was doing. A lot of it could still be gathering dust if he hadn’t had faith in it too.
What is it about Vyvyan’s sound and overall dance floor ethos that aligns well with the label?
I’m not sure I can confidently speak for the label on why they’ve welcomed me to make a home at the label and nurtured my work so much, but I’m incredibly grateful for it.
I think we share a lot of similar views in how we approach music making or the creation of art of any kind really.
It’s never about profit, reach, or clout with them. It’s purely if this work excites something in you and gives a kind of compulsion to share it with the world.
Tell us about your forthcoming debut album as Vyvyan.
It was made in a relatively short period of time which I think helps add to its continuity, which I feel is vital for any album. I’m not going to stand here and tell you what it’s about that would influence people’s interpretations and as I’ve kind of explained before I’m not really into that — but there is a definite intended narrative.
For the first time, this is going to be a joint release on Me Me Me and Gottwax. The album’s artwork was created by Patrick Duffy (Marske) and inspired by the album’s title, Y. To quote Pat on it, “The imagery for the album is based on the 23 pairs of chromosomes present in every human being.
The album is dedicated to my cousin Ruth who passed away from Covid in 2021 and was the beautiful exception to this rule having 24 pairs of Chromosomes like all other people with Downs Syndrome. Each vinyl copy will have a unique screen printed combination of these pairs, no two copies will be the same. Only 75 copies will ever be pressed and printed.
Vyvyan’s debut album ‘Y’ will arrive in the Summer of 2022 via Me Me Me and Gottwax.
What are some of your all-time-favorite Me Me Me tracks?
Deo’Jorge – Sparkling Plugs
Well simply, it’s as cool AF! It sounds so slick but in an outsider kind of way, if that makes sense. I also think it’s a record that really shows the breadth of the label’s output. It is just another record that proves its sound can’t really be pigeonholed, which I absolutely love. They say familiarity breeds contempt, and don’t think that’s something they ever have to worry about.
Club Tularosa – Glory (Bleaching Agent Remix)
I’m a big fan of Club Tularosa. I was lucky enough to catch them in the UK at the start of 2020 and they were excellent. And they were all round lovely humans that typify the kind of people that seem to be drawn to release on the label through Geoff. The Bleaching agent remix is particularly good. He has his own distinct sound and I’m really looking forward to hearing more from him.
Markse – He Don’t
For the line “take the piss, take out the bins” it deserves to be included on that alone — Wish I’d written it. But more than that I think it typifies what the label is about with Marske’s work. It has zero focus on commerce and is a pure artistic endeavour, aiming to be as authentic to its creator as it can be.
Vyvyan – Coat Bra Pants
I had to put one of my own in, didn’t I? The label is called Me Me Me after all! If I had to pick something I’ve made so far as Vyvyan that best represents what I’m trying to do, this is definitely close. Also, the fact that Gerd Janson, who I admire hugely, chose to remix this purely because he was into the track and for no other reason than because he had no idea who made it, will always be a proud moment.
Beatport welcomes LabelRadar’s streamlined music demo submission platform to its Music Services division.
Beatport has announced the acquisition of LabelRadar, a company that has built its reputation with artists as a valuable platform to introduce them to labels, notifying them immediately when their demo is listened to, and paving the way for them to get signed.
For record labels, LabelRadar provides streamlined access to a steady flow of unsigned demos from a wide variety of genres submitted by artists based all around the world. When an A&R team finds a track they love, they can view data on the artist, start a chat, and upon mutual confirmation, sign the track. LabelRadar will join ampsuite, Hype and LabelBase as part of Beatport’s Music Services division.
“LabelRadar streamlines the whole demo submission process,” saysAlex Branson, SVP of Music Services. “LabelRadar has built an accessible product that makes it easier for labels and publishers to review incoming demos, while ensuring artists get their demos heard by the right prospective partners who can immediately jump on the opportunity to sign new music.”
Beatport has worked alongside LabelRadar to host remix competitions featuring Carl Craig, Tiësto, and Giolì & Assia via its “Opportunities” feature, which will continue to be developed to increase collaboration across all levels of the dance music industry.
LabelRadar will enable Beatport to support artists and labels from the beginning of their musical journey, and will further connect Music Services into the overall Beatport ecosystem.
Learn more about LabelRadar’s streamlined demo submission process here.
With his close ties to Afterlife, Colyn is melodic house & techno’s newest star. Ana Monroy Yglesias learns how it all began.
28-year-old Dutch producer Colyn went from being a fan of Tale Of Us to part of the Afterlife family so quickly, he’s still pinching himself.
In 2019, just two years into the Colyn project, his relationship with the beloved melodic techno label officially began, when his track “Amor” was released as part of their Realm Of Consciousness Pt. IV compilation album. His moody and propulsivefour-track Resolve EP followed that same year on Afterlife, and helped put him on the map beyond his hometown of Amsterdam.
Not long after “Amor” got love from the likes of Mind Against, Mathame and Joris Voorn; while the EPs second track, “Eriador,” a flute-tinged journey to Middle-earth, saw heavy rotation by Tale Of Us that year. Since then, the Italian duo has released two more of Colyn’s EPs: Patterns in 2020, and most recently, Oxygen Levels Low, which dropped on April 29.
“The Afterlife family has really been a home for me from the start,” Colyn says over Zoom from his Miami Airbnb. The rising melodic techno artist recently made his US debut at Miami’s Sound.
“Obviously, when you come into it, you kind of need to prove yourself, just as any group that you roll into. But once you establish yourself and show that you’re serious and you can pull your weight, they fully support you and make sure to put you in the right environment to grow as an artist.”
The first time he met Tale of Us was in Amsterdam after they played his track—which took him by surprise since he hadn’tsent them any music yet.
“I was in Amsterdam at a festival and they played a track of mine. I had nerves up to my ears and I tried to talk to them. I told Matteo, ‘Hey, you played a track of mine.’ He’s like, ‘I didn’t play it, Carmine played it. You should ask him.’ I was like oof. So I asked Carmine and he said, ‘Ohh, you’re that guy. That’s cool man, but we need to catch a helicopter to go to our next show.’ I was like, ‘Holy fuck, these guys.’ I asked how we can stay in touch and he gave me his phone number.”
From there, Colyn started sending more and more music — up to 35 tracks he reckons, including “Amor.” And he thinks having all that music ready to go helped Tale Of Us begin to trust him as an artist.
“At this point, I’m really good friends with all the guys, which is amazing,” Colyn says. “At the start, it’s a bit scarier because they’re helping you make your first steps in your career, so you feel like you’re walking a bit more on eggshells. Now, it’s a good friendship and we can talk about everything. It’s all open for discussion, which is super cool position [to be in].”
Scary as it was, that first meeting led to the pivotal Resolve release, and plenty more support of his tracks in their sets. “A lot has changed. The EP was definitely a pivotal moment in my career. ‘Amor’ was my debut release on Afterlife, which did really well. But if you put out a debut and there’s no follow up, it’s going to be difficult to keep your momentum going. Resolve perfectly followed up ‘Amor’ and I guess it’s also a bit of luck and timing that everything comes together. We had the right music ready to follow up and Tale Of Us also thought so. We got a massive response from that EP, which really launched my career and pushed me from upcoming local DJ to starting international DJ.”
Colyn’slatest Afterlife release, Oxygen Levels Low, demonstrates his versatility and creativity within the world of melodic. The first two tracks are perfectly weird left-field peak time dance floor heaters, followed by two somewhat more chilled and deep melodic gems, which are closer to the sound he’s known for.
“‘Oxygen Levels Low‘ is definitely a song where I tried to push the boundaries a little bit. Every new work I put out, I want to try to raise the bar, personally. And I think what’s fun about it is it’s a bit more of a rough, clubby track than people are used to for me. That’s why the whole package works really well, because the other tracks have a bit more of the melodic sound that I’m more known for,” Colyn explains.
As he explains, the EP also reflects his headspace at different points over the last year or so and represents how he translates his feelings into his tracks.
“’Oxygen Levels Low’ has been done for about 10 months, and ‘Lightyears‘ has only been done for three months, so they all come from a different timestamp. All of them have different influences from where my head was at that point in time. In general, I try to transform emotions and experiences that happen in my daily life to my music.”
Colyn has also built a relationship with RÜFÜS DU SOL, who’ve released two of Colyn’s EPs on their Rose Avenue record label: Bridges In The Sky in 2021, and Concepts of Love in 2020. Both of these two-trackers are led by emotive songs featuring the deep, warm vocals of Maurtis Colijn, Colyn’s older brother — an audio engineer who writes music in his free time and started DJing back in his early teens, before the younger Colyn. His love for dance music and DJing rubbed off on Colyn, who eventually became the only DJ in the family.
“First of all, he’s an awesome guy — it’s super fun to work together,” Colyn says about his older brother. “It’s always difficult to find the right vocalist for a track. Sometimes we look around and try to get someone else involved, and then I sit in one session in the studio with my brother and we end up with the whole song. And we’re like, ‘Wow, it’s that easy.’ I think because we’re brothers we can be very honest with each other. So if we don’t like it, or if we’re moving out of the direction we should be going in, then we just say it to each other.
We don’t really have that awkwardness where you’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s kind of cool,’ even if you don’t like it. I think that helps the process a lot, and he has a beautiful voice, which helps too. Usually, we write it together, so it’s him and me in the studio writing, then he sings it and I record it. And then we go back and write some more, and usually, after two or three hours, we have a first version of what is a song. It’s been super cool to release a few tracks with him already.”
Just last month, Colyn ticked another item off the DJ bucket list when he played for Cercle at the stunning Jatayu Earth’s Center in Kerala, India. This — along with his first trip to play in the U.S. — is one of the life experiences that left him feeling super inspired in the studio. “That was mad,” he says, chuckling. “The whole trip was an adventure. I have two people in my management team and we all went there because we felt like this was such a big moment,” he said of his Cercle trip.
“We arrived and I saw the DJ setup and I was like, ‘What the fuck, I’m actually gonna play a DJ set here.’ The guys from Cercle are super pros, they know what they’re doing, so I could really focus on getting the music part right… I was really nervous because it’s live live, so you cannot fuck up or make any big mistakes. So the first half hour was a bit itchy, but in the end it all went well. After the first half hour I started to come into a rhythm and got a bit more relaxed.”
Before he got the chance to play spine-tingling venues like that, he spent years cutting his teeth in the Amsterdam scene, playing pretty much every club while making a name for himself locally. By the time he connected with Tale Of Us, he was pretty well known in Amsterdam, and had enough DJing and producing hours logged to roll with them.
“I started producing before I started DJing. It’s been 11 years ago now; I was 16 when I started producing music,” Colyn reflects. “After five, six years of producing, I started to realize my music was actually good, and my friends were like, ‘This is actually awesome. We would listen to this even without having the bias that you’re my friend.’ I started to realize that maybe I could actually sign on a label and start something of a career. At that point, I was also DJing already and playing every possible room in Amsterdam that would have me,” Colyn says.
Reflecting further on his success, Colyn thinks aspiring DJs should play as many gigs as possible for the experience — even the bad ones.
“That’s what’s going to make you a better DJ when things blow up. You need those hours in rooms with three people in it where one is enjoying it, the other one is sleeping and the other is smoking in the back. That’s what you take with you when you’re touring and you’re getting all these kinds of challenges and different crowds thrown at you.”
Like many older siblings, his brother played an important role in his early musical taste, bringing him into the world of electronic music at a young age. And the first dance sounds that entranced him were trance, which feels like a natural progression towards melodic techno.
“As a kid, it’s all phases, of course. I had my phase of punk rock. Then I moved into trance, like old school Tiësto, Ferry Corsten, those big Dutch DJs when trance was mega, in 2001 or so. And from there I slowly moved on to progressive, more like Eric Prydz, which I still love as well. From there on, I went on a darker path. The music I made before the Colyn project was melodic techno but a bit more on the dark side. My sound is similar now, but it’s a bit cheerier, not too dark. It’s a bit more uplifting, hopeful.”
He affirms that those early influences still impact him to this day, along with his fellow Afterlife family, of course. “The old trance guys have something on me; Tiësto, Armin [van Buuren], Ferry Corsten. Also, Eric Prydz heavily influences me, I’m a big fan. He’s an amazing producer; over the years he’s made so much music that’s so high level. Those are the people that were the most influential when I started producing. And when I started to become a bit of a better producer, people like Tale Of Us, Mind Against and Recondite were also very inspiring for me to listen to. And now they’re friends of mine, which is super funny and crazy, but really cool.”
You can expect more emotive bangers from Colyn in the near future. “Musically, I want to try and build something new. I want to work on the next thing, for me that’s a timeline of six, seven, eight months and, obviously, there’s already some contenders in the field that I feel could be cool projects for the next thing. Always, when something comes out, it leaves kind of a void like, ‘Okay, what now?’ So that’s where I’m at now, but usually that’s a very healthy feeling where I’m like ‘Okay, I need to push again and we need to find the next big thing where my sound should develop,’ which is always interesting.”
Ana Monroy Yglesias is a Staff Writer for GRAMMY.com and a freelance music journalist based out of Los Angeles. Find her on Twitter.
Brazilian dance floor dynamo Alok gives us a taste of his high-powered “future-tech” sound via Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
Most of my recent single releases and remixes have been sitting on the sonic intersection of pop and house music, and this is what comes to people’s minds when they think of the sound behind the name Alok.
Since I’m trying to draw my inspiration from as many sources as possible, my musical preferences constantly evolve, so for the forthcoming festival season I wanted to prepare something unique that I haven’t tried before. “Future-tech” is my new sonic direction, which is a fusion of tech-house vibes with signature sounds and elements of future rave.
Below’s playlist is a perfect reflection of what I’ll be showcasing this Summer on various tours across the world, including my three-month residency at Hï Ibiza, kicking off on July 4th, and my new single “The Club Is Jumpin’” is a prime example of what “future-tech” is about. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well as the selection of 10 tracks I prepared for you.
This is my latest release, for which I went into a new musical direction. After I had finished the first version, I was actually a bit nervous to see the crowd’s reactions as they wouldn’t really expect this from me. However, the feedback has been incredible for this one at each one of my shows. The Club Is Jumpin’ includes a sample from Destiny’s Child hit “Jumpin’ Jumpin’,” which is a song I’ve known since my childhood and always wanted to do some work on it. I am thankful that Beyoncé and her team approved my version for an official release. I’m looking forward to playing “The Club Is Jumpin'” during my US tour.
James Hype, Miggy Dela Rosa – Ferrari [The Cross]
Such a smash. For me, it’s a proper summer tune. I know it’s growing in a lot of territories across the globe, and I’m very happy about that. I am sure we’ll hear this one a lot more in the summer, and I can’t wait to drop it in Ibiza during my Summer residency as well!
Richard Grey – Don’t Stop The Music [G*High]
Great rework of a classic! I played this one for the first time during my debut performance at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas back in the day. I love the groove! It’s an instant dancefloor filler.
Ownboss, Sevek – Move Your Body [Musical Freedom]
This track works in every club. And it’s a Brazilian song! I’m very proud of the fact that more and more DJs and producers from Brazil are being discovered and recognized on the worldwide stage. Ownboss and Sevek are very talented, so it definitely didn’t feel like a surprise that this record is currently blowing up.
The Blessed Madonna, Fred Again.. – Marea (We’ve Lost Dancing) [Atlantic Records UK]
This is the anthem of the lockdown. It is such a refreshing tune. For me, it could have become a much bigger record than it eventually became. I think it’s revolutionary. I still play it nearly every day whenever I train in the gym or on any other possible occasion. It will always be a song that reminds me of the hard times of the pandemic, though. Long story short: It’s an anthem.
Lilly Palmer – We Control [Drumcode]
I have dropped this one during one of my EDC sets – and the crowd went nuts. Not a lot of people would have expected me to play a record from Drumcode, but I felt I needed to drop with something special in the end, and “We Control” just ticked all the boxes!
Alok, Bhaskar – Fuego [Spinnin’ Records]
This one so far has received the biggest support from top artists, and I still play it in most of my sets. It’s definitely a special record for me that I’m proud of since I created it with my twin brother Bhaskar.
Massano – The Feeling (2022 Remaster) [Afterlife Records]
Also, I played this one during one of my EDC sets. It’s like the new “ping pong” record. Such cool energy and the song definitely doesn’t need a vocal. I will continue to play it in many of my coming shows across the US.
Space Motion – Twisted Voice [Space Motion Records]
Feels like the classic “Pleasurekraft – Tarantula” vibes, for which I also made a remix back in the days. Great vibe, a real killer on the dance floor.
I had so much fun creating this one alongside Vintage Culture, which is a rework of an iconic dance anthem. I am currently also playing a version with vocals from ZHU’s “Faded.” But I have definitely played this record also as an instrumental, mostly at the end of my sets.
Our expert curation team brings you the best tracks on Beatport you may have missed. This time featuring Nu Disco and Disco from Idjut Boys, CRTT, Anton Kubikov, Eddy C and more.
Idjut Boys – Dumme Willie [Droid]
Reactivated for the needs and dance nerds of today, Droid initially had been designed for straight up machine music, fierce drums, electronic body music and bass heavy melodies in 2008. Following that template, Droid 0422 sounds like a cocktail made from Prelude bonus beats, Supertronics dubs and stand off between George Kranz and Curt Cress. Two well-crafted takes of each Dumme Willie and Schlagstock fill the proverbial boots of said influences and equally draw for your attention. An Idjut thing indeed. Fun fidelity guaranteed.
CRTT – Three Four (Manu Barcelo Remix) [U’re Guay Records]
“Three Four” contains an Afro beat with organic rhythms and “Double Take” has strong house vibes. I love to combine these genres and styles.
Anton Kubikov – Cat Walks Blue [Randomart]
Anton is a key figure in the Russian electronic scene. His addiction to music led him to work on projects below, highly demanded by music lovers around the globe. This is a jazzy and deep enveloping track perfect for the start of a session.
Eddie C – Dubbing Into Darkness [MotorCity Wine]
Berlin-based Eddie C, with his new EP For The People on Detroit label MotorCity Wine is a masterclass in beautiful house and disco flavour. This is the EP’s chuggiest track, a lazy Balearic, acid-flecked, Blues-infused slice of psychedelia that’s the audio equivalent of being too hot to move. Languid, sexy, trippy gear.
Melodymann – Why Came The Rain [Melodymathics]
Melodymann ensures quality with a versatile sound covering all influences of electronic music and touching flavors of house, jazz, techno, soul, funk. Endless drum loops, endless chord loops and a-capellas.
D’Arabia – Continuamente [Hot Toddy Remix]
D’Arabia is back on House of Disco with come sleazy Italo flavour across two originals, ‘Continuamente’ featuring DJ Rou and ‘Sempre Meglio’ featuring Brine. If that wasn’t juicy enough already, Giovanni Damico and Hot Toddy get given the keys to the HOD residence, laying down remixes of the title track with their own distinctive touch.
My Friend Dario – Marittimo [Hell Yeah Records]
The title track opens up with looping synths rising up from below in dramatic fashion. They’re filled with tension as the chugging drums and fat bass roll on and after a break in the heaviness, the dark disco groove returns again. “Marittimo” then cuts loose on jazzy chords with tumbling toms, percussion, shakers and marimbas all bringing a sunny open-air sound.
A proud citizen of Ukraine, the title behind this most recent track is inspired by her recent move to Berlin, a city she has been forced to relocate to following the Russian invasion of her home country. Brimming with assertive synth lines and humming arpeggios, “Subway To Berlin” sees Hotmode’s gentle vocals swim alongside the driving and wistful track to create a sense of yearning that will leave dance floors hungry for more. The release also comes paired with a stunning remix from Radikon boss Jonas Saalbach, who called on the prolific Serbian artist Coeus to help him create a heavy and scorching interpretation of the tune. Listen below.
When she’s not cooking up new sounds in the studio or playing for enthusiastic crowds throughout Europe, 8Kays has been busy advocating for peace and helping raise funds for food and other essential supplies for those in need who are resisting the Russian onslaught in her home city of Fastiv in Ukraine. You can learn more about how to donate here.
“Love Is A State Of Mind” features glamorous and soulful vocal work from US artist Ramona Renea, who is most well known for her work alongside Defected linchpin David Penn. The soaring, feel-good single brings classic house keys, brisk drum work, and electrifying pads together for a track that keeps euphoric dance floor moments squarely in its crosshairs. Listen below.
Honey Dijon’s new single “Love Is A State Of Mind (feat. Ramona Renea)” is out now via Classic Music Company. Check it out on Beatport.
Local Action label boss Tom Lea walks us through a decade of dance floor magic from his essential UK imprint with the stories behind 10 of its most critical tunes.
It was hard enough condensing the last decade of releasing music into a 15-track compilation, so here’s one better — 10 tracks that loosely tell the story of this label’s last 10 years. Endless thanks to everybody who trusted us with their music this last decade, here’s to the next one.
Local Action’s anniversary compilation Do What You Want Forever: 10 Years Of Local Action is available now. Check it out on Beatport.
T. Williams – Heartbeat (Mosca Remix) 
Local Action effectively launched to release T. Williams’ music — I’d been planning to start the label for a while, but hearing his demos was the “eureka!” moment where I knew we had our first release. He’d come from a grime background, but was making house music that tapped into both the raw rhythmic energy of UK Funky and the production values of European and US house and techno, and even dubstep — it just encapsulated everything I wanted from club music at this point. “Heartbeat” wasn’t the first music we released by T. Williams, but it’s his bonafide classic from this period, and remains an anthem to this day.
Slackk – Blue Sleet [from Raw Missions, 2012]
DJ Q and Slackk usher in what I’d loosely call Local Action’s second chapter after T. Williams signed to PMR, and it’s hard to overstate Slackk’s importance to the label for the next few years, both as an artist, as a DJ (his monthly mixes showcasing new grime talent from this period are an unfairly downplayed and hugely important part of club music in the mid-2010s) and then later, as a founder of Boxed, a club night that Local Action enjoyed a close relationship with in this period. “Blue Sleet”, from his Raw Missions EP is a clear influence on the wave of instrumental grime music that would add some much-needed vibrancy to the UK underground in the years that followed.
DJ Q – Get Over You [from Ineffable, 2014]
We’ve released more records by DJ Q than any other artist on Local Action, and after 2012’s “Brandy & Coke” (vinyl-only, so sadly not on Beatport and thus ineligible for this list!), we started working towards his debut album Ineffable. This period marks the start of one of the label’s longest-lasting relationships — Q is one of the most important and influential UK artists of the last 20 years, and his talent as a DJ and musician still regularly blows my mind.
A brilliant album and more influential than people give it credit for — just look at how few records pre-2014 were taking influence from grime, new age ambient and video game soundtracks, and how many have since. Obviously, this is the start of a long-running relationship with Yamaneko, but also an album that gave us the confidence to release records that don’t fit neatly into a club music context — in fact, it was a fairly last minute decision to strip a lot of the drums away from this album and focus more on atmosphere and melody, which ultimately defines Yamaneko’s sound.
Dawn Richard – Not Above That 
Still blows my mind that we released two Dawn Richard albums. I’d been a huge admirer of her for years, and I reached out off the back of her 2014 album Blackheart purely as a fan, with no real aim beyond expressing my admiration and maybe putting her onto some of our artists for future production. We spent the next six months talking, and at the end of 2014 she suggested working together on her next record. I basically dropped everything, and focused the next year on improving our label infrastructure so that we could do her music justice — Dawn was comfortably the biggest artist we’d worked with at that point, and the whole experience really forced us to up our game in every aspect of how we operate. This label owes a lot to her in that department.
Finn – Sometimes The Going Gets a Little Tough 
Local Action’s last six or seven years look very, very different without Finn. He’s not only become one of our key artists, but 2 B REAL (our Manchester-based sibling label, which Finn operates) has become an incredibly important part of our operation in recent years, and the source of some of our best and most successful recent records. More than anything, Finn is someone whose approach to music is a constant inspiration — a frequent reminder to try and fight the good fight, and why we’re doing this whole label thing in the first place. I don’t think I need to reiterate what an anthem this record became.
Anz – No Harm [from Invitation to Dance, 2019]
A classic record from a generational talent, and the release that really kicks off 2 B REAL as a label with its own identity – the point where it goes from a functional sibling label intended to release some no thrills club records to something that stands alone, and is obviously specifically intertwined with Finn’s home of Manchester. Seeing Anz’s rise in recent years has been a pleasure – a genuine national treasure, and an artist where the amount of thought she puts into each move she makes has paid dividends.
India Jordan – For You [from For You, 2020]
Speaking of classic records from generational talents! We’ve known Jordan almost as long as we’ve known Finn — they first came with Finn to a party we threw in 2014, we started speaking semi-regularly and from then on they seamlessly integrated into the family, long before they were even producing music. When they started making music, it was a natural move for both parties to start releasing it together, and witnessing their ascendence from their first demos to the point they’re at now has been so fulfilling and affirming. For You, for me is a perfect record — not just musically but in terms of the meaning behind it that Jordan worked carefully to express through the titles, the visual side, the whole package. Full of energy and emotion, just like T. Williams a decade before, “For You” encapsulates pretty much everything I’m looking for in dance music.
E.M.M.A. – Into Indigo [from Indigo Dream, 2020]
E.M.M.A. is someone else who was part of the family long before we ever released a record by her. We originally spoke about her second album being on Local Action back in 2015, and she delivered the final tracklist about a week before the first lockdown in 2020. In fact, the afternoon she sent it would be the last time I worked from outside my apartment for a long, long time. Despite it taking five years to come to fruition and despite it being almost a decade on from her first album Blue Gardens, it was received brilliantly: the wait didn’t affect the response at all, and I think that’s testament to Emma’s talent, personality and the visual world she’s able to build around her music.
UNIIQU3 – Microdosing [from Heartbeats, 2021]
UNIIQU3 is someone I’d admired hugely for years. We’d booked her for parties five or six times before even talking about working on a release together, and we’d always joked that she was like our North American cousin, so when it came to finally turning that relationship into a label one it was very natural. She spent the best part of two years building and fine-tuning Heartbeats, and listening to it you can really tell — she was determined for it to be her biggest and best record to date, and she quite clearly achieved that. UNIIQU3’s the sort of personality and artist who really makes you bring your A-game when working with her, and I think she’s destined to become a bigger star with each passing year. I feel hugely privileged to call her a part of the family.
Los Angeles-based DJ/producer and Innervisions favorite Eagles & Butterflies shares the tracks that are rocking his dance floors for Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
I’ve put together some of my favourite jams from some of my favourite people. I’ve included some artists who I think are really pushing boundaries and creating something unique at the moment, something for all occasions.
It’s been an incredible few weeks touring in North America, and I had a chance to play a whole bunch of the these tracks. I have a whole bunch of new music on the way including “The Trip” and “Sketch 16” on May 27th, and I will also be releasing the first of two new EPs for the amazing Permanent Vacation in June.
Jamie is one of my favourite artists, I love everything he makes and this new one is incredible — super happy summer vibes. Love how he uses his vocals also, summer hit.
Sascha Funke – FEZ [Running Back]
Sascha is on my favourite label, Running Back. All four tracks are amazing, but I think “Fez” is my fav, super summer vibes.
Kelly Lee Owens – L.I.N.E. [Smalltown Supersound]
I love this album (Innersong) so much, I very rarely listen to an album on repeat from start to finish but this one was amazing. Kelly is an incredible artist, and “L.I.N.E.” is my favourite of the album — super dreamy, slow and euphoric.
Tourist – Bunny [Monday Records]
I played with him in San Diego this past weekend and loved his set, amazing vibes. I think this is one of my favourites from him, super dreamy. Killer groove and melodies.
Zombie in Miami & Lauer – Clamato [Creatures of the Night]
“Clamato” is by the killa combo of the Zombies and Lauer, both amazing on their own so this was always gonna be a hit. Summer piano bomb.
Perel & Marie Davison [Kompakt]
Jesus Was An Alien — killa combo from these two queens, dreamy synth pop at its finest. The whole album is great!
HAAI + John Hopkins [Mute]
Baby We’re Ascending — what a dream combo, HAAi is currently my favourite artist. I love everything she does, really pushing boundaries. Working with John was always going to be a hit! Pounding euphoria.
Bob Moses – Love Brand New [Bob Moses/ Domino Recording Company]
Maybe my favourite Bob Moses song. Played with the boys last weekend and this is such an amazing track to hear live, killa pop track.
Fred Again.., Romy, HAAi – Lights Out [Atlantic Records UK]
Another summer anthem from three of the best producers in electronic music! Love all three individually and this song shows hints of all of their artistic styles, the outcome is amazing.
Bonobo – Rosewood [Ninja Tune]
Who doesn’t love Si? Every album is amazing and this one was no exception. “Rosewood” is my favourite on the album. Great vocal sample, love the shuffle, groove, and whole vibe.
EFFY – Not Yours [Not Yours]
Absolute mayhem!! Love everything about this from the start to finish, proper hectic rave vibes in the best possible way!
Chloe Callet – Love Ain’t Over (Gerd Janson Remix) [Xcess Recs]
Two of my favs in one place, killa slice of Italo goodness perfect for any occasion !
Mano Le Tough – A If To Say [CircoLoco Records]
So many insane Mano jams to pick one is difficult, but this one on Circoloco is fire, sick groove and amazing production.
Yehno – Reminds Me (Jex Opolis remix) [Collection Disques Durs]
I absolutely love all Jex’s music, super synthy and ’80s/’90s sounding vibes with a perfect modern twist.
Irreverent, humble, and always evolving, WhoMadeWho have successfully bridged the gap between dance and live music. For May’s Cover Story, Jack Tregoning speaks to the Danish trio about their new album, UUUU, and much more.
When I connect on Zoom with two-thirds of Danish trio WhoMadeWho, the bandmates are in dramatically different locations. Tomas Høffding, the group’s bass player and singer, is on a mini-break in the Danish forest. Though his camera is off, I can hear birds chirping serenely in the background. “It’s very non-techno,” Høffding quips.
Drummer and producer Tomas Barfod, meanwhile, is at home in Copenhagen, wearing a black t-shirt and black cap. The apartment behind him is white and airy, the picture of chic Danish design. Noting the grey box where Høffding should be, Barfod asks dryly if he’s naked. “No, just walking around the woods,” comes the chipper reply.
There’s something in this Zoom set-up that feels quintessentially WhoMadeWho. Over two decades together, and increasingly on recent albums, the trio’s sound is part cosmopolitan cool, part naked stroll through the woods. They’re the rare kind of band you could picture playing a fashion show before midnight, then driving deep into the wilderness for an anything-goes rave. This chameleonic quality is part of the off-kilter charm that makes WhoMadeWho one of electronic music’s most intriguing acts.
We’ve connected on Zoom to discuss WhoMadeWho’s seventh studio album, UUUU, out May 27 via the prolific Berlin-based label Embassy One. The trio — Høffding, Barfod and guitarist/singer Jeppe Kjellberg — worked on the album in bursts throughout the dark days of the pandemic, leaning on Keinemusik boss Rampa as a confidant and co-producer.
Released as a single last month, title track “UUUU” bears Rampa’s unmistakable flair for billowing drama. Previously WhoMadeWho released the album cuts “Summer”; “Mermaids”, featuring a remix by DJ Tennis; and “Silence & Secrets”, which spawned remixes from Black Coffee and Adriatique and an alternate version by Frank Wiedemann of Âme. As a whole, UUUU completes WhoMadeWho’s metamorphosis from a group that once courted the indie-dance circuit to one warmly at home in melodic house and techno.
While the pandemic stymied some artists, WhoMadeWho harnessed the opportunity to be productive. “It was good for us to slow down and not fly to America and drink every weekend, and all this shit,” Barfod says. “It’s not the same level of quality if you’re going to the studio all jetlagged.”
That same collaborative spirit fed into UUUU, with the music drawn from several overlapping studio stints in Berlin with Rampa and Wiedemann. WhoMadeWho had already cemented their relationship with Rampa on 2019’s “Tell Me Are We” for Innervisions, which found its way into sets by DJs like Sasha, Guy Gerber and Âme. Over numerous sessions, they made ten tracks in total with Wiedemann, choosing two (“Dream Hoarding” and “Peter Pan Me”) for Synchronicity, saving “Silence & Secrets” for UUUU.
“We re-did it at the last minute, so we had two versions,” Barfod explains. “[Wiedemann]’s remix is actually close to the original that we made together.”
Barfod recalls making the beat for “UUUU” with Rampa on a sweltering day in Wiedemann’s Berlin studio. On the same day, they also sketched out a deep, enveloping track that was released in 2021 on Cercle Records as “Abu Simbel”, the name of the Egyptian temple site where WhoMadeWho played live for Cercle’s YouTube channel. WhoMadeWho knew they had a good thing going with Rampa, who Høffding describes as providing “guidance on a higher level.”
“As a producer, I have to trust a guy to be able to work with him,” Barfod adds. “After we made ‘Abu Simbel’, it made total