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.
Jack Tregoning links up with Valencian dance music maverick AFFKT to uncover the story behind the groundbreaking and goosebump-inducing sound of his distinguished Sincopat imprint.
When Sincopat founder Marc Martinez Nadal, aka AFFKT, appears on my Zoom screen from his office in Valencia, Spain, my eye goes to the brightly colored arcade console in the corner. Its colors and design are instantly recognizable to anyone who has scrolled through the label’s cover designs.
Nadal smiles warmly, very much at home. He’s recently returned from a tour of Japan and South Korea, where he shared the Sincopat sound to appreciative, dialed-in dance floors. I begin by asking if he shifts his sound at all when touring outside Europe. “Seventy percent of what I play is my own music or other releases on Sincopat,” he says, adding that he always road-tests upcoming label releases.
Given Sincopat’s prolific output to date, it’s no wonder the label can power the bulk of a DJ set. Nadal founded Sincopat in 2010 and has kept it humming ever since, right up to last month’s Airy EP from Brazilian techno mainstay Renato Cohen — the 114th release in Sincopat’s core series. Throughout its run, the label has defied easy genre categorization, with interlocking shades of indie dance, house, techno, and electronica. Its overarching aim, as Nadal puts it, is to release music that induces goosebumps.
Released on October 6, Sincopat 115 is a new AFFKT EP, Footloose, featuring a trio of tracks that showcase the label boss’s genre-blurring sound. With a happy shrug, he describes EP closer “Corfa” as a “sort of experimental techno with some breaks.” As an artistic statement, the EP is a compelling evolution for both Nadal and Sincopat.
Over Zoom, Nadal scans the camera around the office, pointing out the DJ booth where he records radio shows and podcasts and the pair of studios beyond. In addition to his label duties, Nadal is the Chief Engineer at Pobla, the mixing and mastering company that shares Sincopat’s HQ. His tight-knit team of five completes around 4,000 mixing and mastering jobs a year for many of dance music’s top labels, including Suara, Sol Selectas, Filth On Acid, Parquet Recordings, Kitball and of course, Sincopat. Nadal runs the label alongside his wife Raquel, who handles everything from design to contracts and distribution, with support from the Pobla crew. “It’s a family here,” he says.
When I ask Nadal about the history of the label, he flies through the story with ease. In his telling, Sincopat’s precursor was Barraca Music, which was spun out as a label in 2008 from Valencia’s famous underground club of the same name, where Nadal took care of the sound and lighting. With Nadal and fellow producer Alberto Sola setting the tone, Barraca Music captured a heady moment for house and techno in Spain. Its first 12” release, AFFKT and Danny Fiddo’s El Prologo, featured two tracks, “Points” and “Cartas Para Geisha,” that attracted remixes from scene heavyweights Ricardo Villalobos, Radio Slave and Luciano.
Nadal, who came up as a producer making drum & bass, spread his wings in the early days of Barraca Music, also releasing EPs with Rafa Siles and Alberto Sola that pushed outside the typical tech-house mold. Following output from the likes of Dana Ruh, Tale Of Us and Andrew Grant, the label folded after a few years amid the European debt crisis.
Nadal, however, still had the bug, and he decided to travel to Berlin to “have some meetings and learn how to make a label.” His meeting with studio guru Matthew Styles, who at the time was working as a label manager at Beatport, left a strong impression. Nadal returned to Valencia buzzing, with “a clear idea of how to create a label.”
Photo: Darlyn Vlys & AFFKT
Nadal launched Sincopat in 2010 with his own “Once Upon A Time,” a chugging tech-house weapon that scored an exemplary remix from then-emerging talent John Talabot. From the beginning, Nadal also used the label to spotlight other producers in Spain who shared his sensibility, such as Darlyn Vlys, Piek and Samuel Dan. “I had the feeling that I could have a label that was different to what was out there,” he says.
In 2012, Nadal released his debut album as AFFKT, Punto 0, on Sincopat. Nadal partly recorded the album in Cuba, where he worked with local musicians and created a making-of documentary that featured their insights. Not a straightforward tech-house album, Punto 0 typified Nadal’s sonically adventurous aspirations for the label. At the time, he also wanted Sincopat – whose name nods to ragtime – to honor the rich lineage of Black music that paved the way to techno. “It was a kind of obsession for me to understand the story of Black music,” Nadal recalls. “Searching for the essence was important.”
Throughout the 2010s, Sincopat also released music from the likes of Dave Seaman, Audio Junkies, Tim Engelhardt, Just Her and Uner, with each artist bringing their own unique touch. In 2016, Nadal released his second AFFKT LP, Son of a Thousand Sounds, which further expanded his musical palette and showcased his commitment to the album format. Two years later, French-born, Valencia-based producer Darlyn Vlys chose Sincopat to release his debut album, Prince In The Rain. “For me, an album is like a director making a film, and EPs are short capsules,” Nadal says.
The typical Sincopat release, Nadal says, features three originals and a remix. This format encourages artists to experiment with moods and textures beyond pure club functionality. “We’re trying to release amazing music for the dance floor,” he says. “And I always ask the artist to make something different, to create something they might not have a chance to do for another label. They expand their sound and their color.” In recent years, standout examples have come from the likes of Squire, blaktone, SNYL, and UK club veteran James Harcourt.
In addition to the core Sincopat releases, including AFFKT’s upcoming Sincopat 115, the label has several offshoots, which brings its total tally of releases closer to 300. These additional series include Sincopat BeenTouched and UpSideDown, which both invite artists to try new things, and Sincopat Remixed, which has featured remixes from AFFKT, Vlad Jet, Tom Zeta, Jimi Jules, and Audio Junkies, to name just a few.
Not all of Nadal’s music ends up on Sincopat — his most recent AFFKT album, The Big Picture, was released in 2021 on Berlin’s Mobilee Records. He smiles wryly when I ask how he knows what goes where. “It’s a big challenge to be objective about your own music. Sometimes a track is for Sincopat from the beginning. Sometimes, I’ll send a demo to a few labels, knowing they won’t take it, just so I can take it for Sincopat.”
Sincopat’s eye-catchingly bright cover designs came about as a happy accident. In the early years of the label, Nadal planned to switch illustrators frequently to showcase varying styles. Then, on his first tour of Japan in 2015, he encountered the work of illustrator Junya Matsuyama, who designed an impressive flier for the AFFKT show in Shizuoka. Nadal asked the promoter to connect him with Matsuyama, and the pair struck up a partnership.
Matsuyama is responsible for some of Sincopat’s most distinctive designs, which reflect the label’s playful, adventurous spirit. (In our conversation, Nadal shares his admiration for Kompakt, another label with a clear visual identity and a flair for the unexpected.) “I found that Junya was representing perfectly what I had in mind,” Nadal says. “I wanted to show that Sincopat was an open-minded label; really colorful and full of different influences. When I asked Junya for his inspiration, he said it was one of his LSD trips.” In more recent years, Nadal’s wife Raquel, herself a professional designer, has taken over some of the cover designs while retaining a unified feel.
Artwork by Junya Matsuyama
Having explored the roots of dance music on Sincopat’s earlier releases, Nadal is now looking to the future. He’s confident that the label can keep evolving with each new release until its 15th anniversary in 2025.
“It would not make sense if I had the same mission as 15 years ago,” Nadal says. “I want this music [on Sincopat] to be listened to in 20 years, and still feel fresh. It also has to be understandable for the people and give them a real feeling. I think technique and concept must always go together hand-in-hand. For me, the music has to be technically extremely great and also extremely great conceptually.”
As a DJ and producer who’s always chasing new ideas, Nadal is equally optimistic about the future of AFFKT. “Coming from drum & bass, I used to not play my own music,” he says. “This has changed over the years. I went from not so much believing in my music, even when it was good, to now totally trusting in it, because it really represents what I am.”
Now the father of a five-month old, Nadal is also taking stock of this new phase in his life. Whatever comes next, he’ll still be chasing those goosebumps moments to share on Sincopat. “I’m obsessed with this idea that something you create, that comes out of your mind, will be felt by other people in other countries and cultures,” Nadal says. “That’s some kind of magic, you know?”
Jack Tregoning is an editor and journalist from Sydney, Australia, who has worked for over a decade in music media, while also writing about movies, TV, and culture. Find him on X.
We speak with Australian artist Odd Mob and LA-based talent OMNOM whose collaborative tech house stomper “Losing Control” has just hit Beatport’s overall top spot.
Thanks for joining us, Harry and Cody. Congrats on locking down your very first Beatport #1! How are you feeling about it, and have you had a chance to celebrate?
Harry (Odd Mob): Yeah, it’s super exciting! I can’t believe we managed to snag the number 1 spot. Our sold-out LA show was definitely a celebration and a half!
Cody (OMNOM): Harry was actually just out here in the US last week for a short string of shows. If you happened to see any of the videos from our B2B set at Academy on Friday, you’d know we definitely had quite the celebration… He actually arrived in America Sunday for his set at Nocturnal Wonderland, and Losing Control hit #1 literally that same night.
Here’s a pic of us when we found out:
Tell us about how the two of you first connected.
Cody (OMNOM): We actually met a few years ago while Harry was on a US tour. He was playing at Space Yacht in LA, and that afternoon, he’d tweeted something along the lines of “Who wants to work together while I’m in town?” and being a big admirer of his work, I offered to have him come out to my house and work at my home studio. A few people responded with “Yes. You should definitely do that,” and maybe that’s what actually convinced him.
Harry (Odd Mob): We caught up at my show at Sound later that night, and that’s when we finally met in person. The next day, we actually followed through on our plans (rare!), and we wrote “Strut” that very same day. I left for my next show the day after, but the entire country shut down on the way there. The Covid-19 pandemic canceled the whole rest of my tour, and I was forced to return to Australia. We didn’t meet up with each other again until late 2022, I believe.
How did the track come about? Tell us a bit about your collaborative workflow in the studio.
Harry (Odd Mob): Yeah, we usually both like to work together in the studio super fast. One of us will be driving the session, and then the other will be playing around on any of the synths. That’s usually how our collaborations end up with so many cool little interesting bleeps and bloops. “WRITE THAT DOWN, WRITE THAT DOWN!”
Actually, some key parts of “Losing Control” came about while we were on other sides of the planet. When you work with someone who lives on another continent, you have to get used to putting tracks together in chunks like a big puzzle. We’re always sending ideas to each other, whether it’s beats, vocals, synths, or whatever.
Cody (OMNOM): Yeah, when Harry sent me a beat with those iconic stabs, I knew we had to make something of it.
Sometimes, I’ll do entire sessions where I write/record vocal ideas to save just in case we ever need them. Some of those sessions have been with friends, one of whom, named Skylar (aka XKYLAR) recorded three or four different toplines one afternoon, having no idea when (or even if) we’d ever use them. One of those vocals just so happened to be, “I think I’m losing control.” She’s on a few other tracks we’re currently working on, so people will definitely be familiar with her soon (if they’re not already).
Harry (Odd Mob): There was also another night where We got on a Zoom call and set a goal for ourselves to actually work on a track together at the same time even though we were in different time zones. So we set a 15-minute timer and left the call to write something (anything), and then when the 15 minutes was up, we returned to the call and showed each other what we’d written.
Cody (OMNOM): I think that’s when I wrote either that sci-fi-sounding intro or the arp we ended up using for the middle section of Losing Control, maybe both? I can’t remember. Actually, I’m not sure I even did anything on “Losing Control.”
The vocal elements on the track are super enjoyable, and I also saw that you both released the acapella as a free download. Have you already had some promising remixes sent your way?
Cody (OMNOM): If anybody makes a remix with THAT acapella, I would definitely be interested in hearing it
Harry (Odd Mob): We’ve already had some crazy artists hit us up for official remixes. Can’t wait to show everybody who’s jumped on board!
I saw that you did your first B2B together in March of this year. It would be a complete understatement to say it looks like you two are having fun up there together. Can we expect to see more joint B2B sessions planned for the future?
Cody (OMNOM): Oh yeah, we definitely have a great time up there! I’ve only done one or two planned B2Bs over the years, so I didn’t really know what to expect with that first one, but it actually ended up being one of the most fun sets I’ve played in a long time. I think we can all agree there have been some B2Bs out there that just sounded like a jumbled mess because the two artists didn’t really know where they were trying to go with it (I think that’s also been us a couple of times). It’s a bit of extra work (but that’s what Harry’s here for).
Harry (Odd Mob): It’s fun piecing together tracks from each of our solo sets and finding new tunes to throw into one collaborative piece that represents both of our styles. And it’s a LOT easier to put together a cohesive B2B set when you both share similarities in your musical taste and like a lot of the same genres and artists.
Cody (OMNOM): But to answer your question: YES. We’ve already got our next few B2Bs lined up for the rest of this year, including a HUGE one alongside Mau P as support for John Summit at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles… (and maybe even a couple in 2024).
What was your favorite moment from the summer of 2023?
Cody (OMNOM): I’ve had a lot of great memories this summer, but in relation to this track, I’d say either the night John Summit told me he wanted to sign “Losing Control” to his label or maybe just the many moments seeing all these videos of “Losing Control” being played in all these iconic venues (mostly by John haha) and seeing people going absolutely feral online trying to figure out the ID or get us to release it. I don’t think I’ve ever had a track generate that kind of hype in my career, so to see it go from that very first idea in a private Soundcloud link to what it eventually became is something I never thought I’d be a part of (but hopefully will again someday)!
Harry (Odd Mob): Playing at HARD summer was definitely a huge highlight. It’s a festival I’ve always wanted to play since I first started DJing!
Any parting words for your fans before we go?
Harry / Cody: We’d just say THANK YOU to anyone and everyone who has helped get “Losing Control” to where it’s at today. We know it was a loooooooong wait over the course of the last six months since we first sent it out to some DJ friends to play.
Beatport shines a spotlight on the meteoric rise of Franky Wah’s brilliant and blissed-out SHÈN Recordings imprint.
Fast-rising dance star Franky Wah has been wowing clubland with his illuminating and sweeping productions on labels like Ministry Of Sound, Club Sweat, Anjunadeep, and more since first emerging on the scene in 2018. As legions of fans continue to rally behind his sound and sets worldwide, the artist broke out in 2022 with SHÈN Recordings — a record label and luxury brand that “pushes the boundaries of progressive club culture.” The imprint first hit the airwaves with the arrival of his two-track EP in April last year, “More Than You’ll Ever Know/Surrender (ft. Clementine Douglas).” The producer then rounded off 2022 with the widely received mixtape This Is SHÈN. This beautifully curated 27-track journey features a collaboration with Sasha while simultaneously introducing the label’s dedication to Chinese philosophy, religion, and mythology.
Since then, SHÈN Recordings has been hard at work, dropping dreamy, driving, and cinematic records from Vintage Culture, Cristoph, Jem Cooke, Shadow Child, Korolova, Marsh, Giorgia Angiuli, and more. In addition to building up a roster of releases from some of clubland’s finest, the label launched its debut Ibiza residency this summer at Club Chinois. To celebrate this burgeoning imprint’s shining achievements, we caught up with Franky Wah to learn what he believes are three of SHÈN Recordings’ most essential tracks and his plans for his label’s future.
The mighty and high-spirited UK duo Y U QT detail their journey from being inseparable childhood pals and losing contact before reuniting to become one of the UK club scene’s most beloved and energetic pairings.
“We basically can’t get away from each other,” laugh Leicestershire-born best mates Darryl Reid and Cooper who, as DJ/producer duo Y U QT, have gone from childhood pals to storming the UK club scene with their high-energy DJ sets and genre-spanning productions.
First meeting at Lutterworth High School in Year 7, they bonded over their love of music and skateboarding and have been largely inseparable since. When hanging out as kids, Cooper would DJ while Darryl perfected his skills on PlayStation game Skate. They shared a love of hip-hop, notably US rappers Nas and Biz Markie, but their music interests elsewhere differed: Cooper liked house, but Darryl preferred guitar music; incidentally, he played in a band with Cooper’s brother.
When the pair finished GCSEs, Darryl went to music college while Cooper stayed behind to study media for a year at A-Level. However, they weren’t separated long, as Cooper soon decided to join Darryl for “the biggest doss on Earth.” With 90% of the course being practical, they skipped their few theory lessons. “We were given a lot of freedom to do what we wanted… most of the time,” Cooper remembers. “It was great because we weren’t the type of kids who liked sitting down in a classroom with a pen.” In contrast to their school teachers, the college tutors “allowed us to be ourselves.” For the majority of their two-year course, they were in the studio; “everyone knew we would probably be better off there and not disrupt lessons,” Cooper laughs. Despite this, no songs were created together; instead, they would make “silly stuff, like Darryl rapping… “It was never anything serious or with a specific goal,” Cooper recalls.
Living in villages on the outskirts of Leicester, they felt removed from the city’s music scene and didn’t start going to clubs until they were 18. When they started DJing properly together, Cooper recalls that it was amid the UK dubstep explosion; the first dubstep night outside of London, Kontact was held in Leicester and hosted sets from Skream and Benga. “That was so exciting because it was a completely new sound,” he reflects. Darryl also remembers fidget house being “absolutely nuts” locally, with artists like Lee Mortimer, A1 Bassline and The Bloody Beetroots.
While Cooper would work on the door at Sophbeck, his steady income came from day shifts in retail. Darryl, meanwhile, had progressed to media college and, after making music on his headphones, ended up touring Australia and Europe. This long-distance separation resulted in a “strange period of time where we weirdly didn’t hang out,” Cooper remembers.
Inexplicably, 11 years passed until the pair reconnected, but they quickly made up for lost time. “I was chilling with mates at mine and Darryl came round, we had some beers and were just messing about making tunes,” Cooper recalls. After this “silly session,” they decided to meet up in the week. A shared epiphany followed: ‘Why have we never made music together?’ “It was always a super separate part of the friendship,” Darryl remembers, “which is mental thinking about it.”
Their first time making music was a case of putting their heads together. Next time round they shared each other’s playlists, including ‘98/99 garage tracks by Sunship and MJ Cole. This gave them a reference point to work from. Darryl says the first track they made was “like if you put both of our influences into a song… but maybe it was too many influences.” Their second – far darker and grime-orientated – “was a case of throwing different things in and going with it,” Cooper recalls. “We’re probably always looking for each other’s approval,” Cooper says of their creative process; “and that works well, because you’re constantly pushing one another.”
Thanks to their rapid work rate, they quickly had five tracks finished. Cooper knew exactly who might be into them, and he was right: garage scene-leader Riz La Teef wanted to release them on his then-new label. While this presented, as Darryl jokes, “the biggest cheat code ever,” they needed to come up with an artist name. One problem: they only had the time it would take for the record to be pressed. As Cooper puts it, six weeks of “sending each other random shit via texts” followed. Incidentally, Darryl had started researching stars in the solar system and discovered that one is called UY Scuti. When he saw the message, Cooper replied ‘what about Y U QT?’ Job done.
With the release of their 2021 EP, Dancehall Damager, they had landed on a distinct but hard to categorise sound. “If you pick out someone like Bicep, what do they make?” asks Darry. “They make Bicep and as long as there’s a Bicep sprinkle over the top, it works.” It’s an ethos they share: “everything has the Y U QT sound, but we want that to be wider because more people can come into the gap,” Darryl considers. One thread that ties the Y U QT world together is the UK-centric sound at its core. “Whether it’s rave-y, jungle-y, garage-y, house-y or bassline-y, it has a British-ness.”
This wide-scope approach to dance music applies to Y U QT’s DJ sets, which feature 85% their own music. “It bounces around that whole world,” Darryl summarises, citing one track that “broke the boundary massively”: Skin On Skin’s “Burn Dem Bridges.” “That did something where it’s alright to play in a techno set, a house set, a grime set, a garage set… that dome of music is what I’m interested in.” Regardless of the type of tune they play, there’s one constant: Darryl and Cooper’s tireless energy. “For the whole night, we literally don’t stop dancing and acting like children,” Darryl jokes. “Because me and Coop are so happy behind the decks, people often say they feel ten years younger at our shows. Everyone is super happy and knows the vibe, too; there’s no worrying about not being able to dance in a certain way because… just look at what’s going on in the DJ booth.”
While such sheer joy could be interpreted as the antithesis to competitively stationary and expressionless DJ culture, Darryl says they’re just enjoying the moment. “If you’re given a free bar and a pair of decks with your best mate, you’re gonna have a good time!” Cooper feels the same: “I still find it weird that people watch a DJ, so if people are looking at you, they want to see something fun, and that then translates to the audience. If we’re jumping around like mad, they might feel it’s okay to do the same and be themselves.”
The vibe rubs off, particularly during the ‘ALL NYTE LONG’ shows, which they describe as their favourites to play. “It’s five hours of showing off the music that we like, so when we get to the heavier stuff everyone’s so ready for it,” Darryl says. They’re equally connected to their fans online, too; far from keeping track IDs hidden, the pair happily send out their dubs on request. Arguably their biggest dub to date has been energetic jungle roller “Y’all Ready For Dis,” which, thanks to a spin during Yung Singh’s Boiler Room set, gave them an “accidental” viral moment. “That track has opened up our audience massively,” Cooper says – and not just in terms of their fanbase, which now spans drum ‘n’ bass and jungle. Bookers who previously pigeonholed them into garage-only line-ups “now saw what else we do”, he adds. When the pair played it hours after making it, at the opening show of their tour, in Nottingham, “the room went absolutely ballistic”, Darryl remembers.
Ever since, their edits have been getting into exactly the right hands. Bicep play their take on “Apricots” in their sets, and Joy Orbison has been rinsing the Y U QT version of “Hyph Mngo” for ages. “It gives you such a big certificate of authentication,” Cooper enthuses, “especially because some people might be like ‘what are you doing? You can’t do that to this song!’” Darryl continues: “Because we’re not that massive… if Four Tet remixed Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles,” they’d say ‘it’s Four Tet, we all love it,’ but the more you do it, and the more those people play it, you realise ‘okay cool, maybe we can do this.’” Darryl thinks their keenness to take snippets from other tracks stems from their love of hip-hop: “It’s almost like paying homage to the original songs, while putting our spin on them and bringing them into the Y U QT world.”
They’re certainly doing something right. Earlier this year they made their own Boiler Room debut and went on a US tour. Now, with a hefty gigging schedule lined up for the next few months, they’re also gearing up to drop their new EP, BABE?. “These tunes are a step in a slightly different direction,” Cooper teases, adding that they are harder to pin into just garage. “They’re garage-influenced monster songs,” Darryl enthuses. Although they struggle to pinpoint exactly where they fit into the scene (“I don’t have a clue, musically,” Darryl admits), Cooper says that “while we came up with the big garage resurgence, it feels like we’re slightly leftfield of that.”
One thing’s for sure, though: the pair remain grounded to their roots – quite literally, having stayed in Leicester. “A lot of people in London have got a vision of where they want to go musically, but being outside of the scene, I think it’s really beneficial to not be wrapped up in any of that,” Cooper considers. Having achieved success on their own terms, the duo would love for their DIY story to inspire other people.” When people were getting to that age of moving to uni, everyone I knew felt they had to go to London,” Cooper recalls. “So if a younger kid can think outside that idea and realise they can make something of themselves in their hometown, that’s a great thing.”
Revisit – Unlocking Beatport Success: A Live Webinar on Music Promotion Strategies
(Get access to the full webinar replay below)
On 14th September we broadcasted a live webinar on how to promote your music on Beatport. Hosted by Raphael Pujol (Vice President of Curation) and Marina Palacios (Head of Label Relations Team, UK), the session offered a wealth of practical information on how you can leverage Beatport to successfully promote your music and build your fan base.
As well as providing a general introduction to the suite of tools and platforms available within the expanding Beatport ecosystem, Raphael and Marina peeled back the curtain on some of the internal processes involved with getting your releases picked up and promoted by the curator team at Beatport.
“Every week we have millions of visitors visiting our store and I think that’s why having your music available on Beatport can be very powerful – and can be a marketing tool in itself.” – Marina
Throughout the session, Raphael and Marina gave a lot of great technicals for best practice in producing marketing and promotional materials, and explained how the curation at Beatport works. Despite hosting a colossal 90,000 labels and processing 30,000 releases every week, the curator team is human-run without the use of algorithms or machines. The labor-intensive process allows the curation team to be hands-on with artists and labels, providing expert services backed by an acute understanding of the music and the culture across all of the genres and regions that are housed on the platform.
Raphael explained the importance of first creating a clear vision and profile behind the music you’re releasing, and a demonstrable work ethic in marketing and promoting your own music, saying: “Getting different types of content to support your music is extremely important today. And that sometimes will make the difference in sales. And sales will mean chart positions, and chart positions means more visibility, more visibility means more sales…”
This isn’t only essential to build an audience and successful business in today’s digital world, but also necessary if you want to be actively promoted on the Beatport platform. First and foremost however, good quality music is still the number one factor in being considered by curators for promotion.
“Incorporating all of these things in your vision will create the right energy and space for you to work in developing your business, and all of that will naturally unfold. When we see that as curators, as Beatport, we want to help you.” – Raphael Pujol
Additionally, picking a distributor that understands and represents your sound and culture is equally important. Having a good distributor by your side that you’re aligned with will allow them to help you get your music out to the right places.
When approaching a distributor it’s important to be ready to work with them – with a clear brand and some kind of marketing plan, so that there is enough lead time for promotion and ensuring you get the best engagement when releasing your music.
The webinar also covered the different avenues of promoting your music through Beatport’s ecosystem including various editorial, banners, charts, and the unique opportunities that can be unlocked through Beatport’s promotion accelerator – Hype.
To get those key promotional strategies and essential details on how you can get featured by Beatport curators, sign up below to watch the webinar in full:
The UK House legend shares stories from his inspiring career and the making of his new sample pack, Circus House Music.
Liverpool-born DJ, producer and promoter Yousef Zaher has long been a part of house music history, but in May of 2021, Zaher – who writes and performs as Yousef – became a part of national history when his club night Circus was picked to host the first club nights in the UK after over a year of restrictions as part of the government’s Event Research Programme (ERP).
“It was myself and my business partner Rich knocking on the door of Liverpool Council, maybe eight, nine, ten months before the party actually happened, making the suggestion that at some point, the UK will surely by definition, have to restart events.”
“We had three weeks’ notice, we got a phone call to say, look, the government has sanctioned this, we would like you to give it a go, and you have to pay for it yourself. So we had to book it in just a few days.”
But Yousef’s musical journey began long before the world-changing events of 2020. He has had a career spanning over 20 years with countless highlights behind the decks, in the studio, and behind the scenes at Circus Recordings.
To celebrate the release of his new Beatport Sounds sample pack, Circus House Music, we sat down with him in his studio to ask him a few questions.
I guess it depends how far back you want to go. Even when I was in school, I really wanted to get into the acid house and rave scene when it was in its infancy.
At the weekend at school I would disappear to go to fledgling raves – amazing places like Shelley’s in Stoke – when I was super young, way too young to get in. It was an incredible formative experience seeing people like Carl Cox, and even The Prodigy live, and they were among their first-ever gigs.
Later down the road, when acid house hit Liverpool, I’d go to places there. But then, most importantly, it’s when Cream started, and that’s when I started to understand the authentic message of house music a lot more just by going every single week and seeing the American DJs who turned my ears like David Morales and Tony Humphries, Roger Sanchez, Derrick Carter – they were the people that really turned me on to the authentic house sound.
Of course, even in Cream, it was a full range of music across three rooms, but it was just being introduced to people like The Dust Brothers – now The Chemical Brothers – Andrew Weatherall, DJ Harvey, people like that were back in the annex.
Of course, most importantly, Paul Bleasdale was the backbone of everything that happened in that club musically. And for me, as I’ve said lots of times, he was one of the most important DJs in Liverpool’s history.
Do you have a first memory of when you noticed things really started to take off for you?
I think it’s been well documented that at the very beginning of my endeavours to become a touring DJ. I won a competition in the now-defunct magazine Bedroom Bedlam DJ. That set me off on a path where I got gigs at Ministry of Sound, which went really well. And then Pacha in Ibiza, which went extremely well.
I was telling somebody about it a few days ago. I had two copies of “Rock Shock” by Roy Davis Jr. and another track by The Buffalo Bunch and I was just mixing it up on three decks, doing my thing. The room at Pacha was going absolutely bananas unbeknown to me – I just thought it was normal. When I came off the decks, there was a whole range of agents and promoters and managers and everybody wanting to get a little piece of me – I had no idea that this was the beginning of the rest of my life.
That night, I went off and had lots of fun and on Monday I went back to my normal job – I literally worked in the children’s underwear section as an assistant. And little ones catalog. Don’t miss those days. But the phone calls came and I was made resident at Ministry Of Sound pretty quickly, and I was signed to the Ministry Of Sound agency. God bless Amy Thompson for looking after me and supporting me back in the original days. But yeah, man, that whole weekend or week in Ibiza in 1998 literally changed my life.
What’s the story behind your own club night, Circus?
Really, I was lucky enough to get the call up from Cream to be a resident. Short backstory – I was going there every week for seven or eight years, I was religious every week. But then I won the DJ competition and the irony was, I was now unable to go.
I was off playing Renascence and Ministry of Sound and playing gigs around Europe and my Saturdays were taken. But obviously, I wanted to be playing at Cream because that was always my dream. And when I say dream I mean that literally, I couldn’t sleep some nights imagining what I was gonna do when I played there. Eventually, Jim King and James Barton asked me to be a resident of Cream. That was fantastic.
I was there for a few years, but what was happening simultaneously was the music in the main room was becoming so far and far away from what I was doing in the annex — which is like underground house and techno — and eventually, we decided to do my own night at Cream.
It was going to be called Circus because I was at a party in Miami in a penthouse, and it was going crazy. I was DJing to everybody and these people from all over the world, all walks of life, and it was just kind of total chaos – it really felt like a circus.
We were about to start our night Circus at Cream, presented by Yousef, but unfortunately, Cream closed. I got a phone call from one of my long-serving business partners and best mates Rich McGinnis, who suggested that we continue doing the Circus idea together. We found a venue that was run by his girlfriend’s dad at the time, we put a few hundred quid in each and we just started. Fortunately, the first night at the Mask Arts Club – now called East Village Arts – was a real success. People from the Annex, my audience, came with me and we’ve not really looked back. We’ve kept on pushing away just between the two of us ever since day one. It’s now over 20 years and, of course, we’ve had lots and lots of crazy moments since.
What’s the future for Circus?
The future for Circus is to just continue to just try and do the best and most creative events that we can manage. Obviously, we’ve got the responsibility of looking after our staff and all these things so we need to make sure that the events work. We love the fact that we are able to support a range of artists across the city and beyond. We like it when major names come to play for us – the energy after those events is just second to none.
For me, it’s been like an unexpected 20-year journey. I thought it would be five years, ten years. Now it’s 15, 20 and beyond. So it’s very, very much established. But again, we just want people to have a good time and feel safe. That’s a good thing to touch on because the levels we go to ensure safety in the city now are literally second to none nationwide. It’s something that I’m really proud of, the journey might be slightly more complicated to get in, but once they’re in it’s safe and I find that’s something that I really take personally.
Finally, are there any artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
I guess I would like to collaborate with more of my DJ peers. I’ve done that quite a lot over the years. I’m 80% to 90% of the way into my fifth album, which is very much a collaborative process but largely with musicians and lead singers rather than electronic music producers. Maybe there should be a bit more of that. I’m not sure
I’m always trying to be creative and move forward. I think that sometimes there can be a bit of a disconnect between my musical output and my DJ sets, so I’m trying to connect those dots a little bit more. I’ve just released an EP called the Tools EP, which is very clearly just DJ tracks. But when I do an album, it’s listened to from start to finish, so people know me for a range of things. I’m just trying to make sure that the dots are connected a bit more over the next one if you like.
Yousef’s Circus House Music sample pack is now out from Beatport Sounds, and available on Loopcloud. Check it out here.
French techno don Airod treats us to some bone-chilling, high-octane dance floor weapons for Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
This playlist aims to take you on a journey into my distinct vision of techno. I’m happy to share with you some newcomers and established artists shaping the sound of the future.
Having my own label Elixyr, co-owning Molekul Records, and working with labels such as Lenske or Exhale has opened my eyes to the new generation of artists and the new inspiration that’s emerging, teaching me to always innovate on my own and go beyond my limits of my creativity. To be able to tour the world and offer you a palette of new and different sounds is the core purpose of what I’m doing as a producer and DJ — to immerse you in the artist’s universe. That’s why this playlist is a mix of styles, which also describes the diversity of my selections and all the tracks you may hear and experience during my sets. Enjoy!
Encoded Data is a French duo hailing from Lyon. I received a message on SoundCloud with this track, and I immediately saw the potential of these producers. I didn’t hesitate to sign the track to my label. I play it in all my sets, and the effect is the same every time, no exception: everyone goes crazy.
Blame The Mono – Sub Rock [Absis]
Blame The Mono is a young French duo, both very talented. In this track, you can clearly feel the inspiration of the Chemical Brothers or The Prodigy, a breakbeat tune that is very catchy and very well realized. They’re a duo to watch, very diverse in their releases, and very high quality.
David Strasser – Trust The Process [Akronym]
David Strasser has a style all his own — very energetic but simultaneously melancholy and melodic, with songs that can be listened to alone but also thrill people during shows and festivals.
Riot Code – Devils Daze [Elixyr]
A bewitching, captivating track full of energy, I didn’t hesitate to sign it once I heard it. I often play this one at the end of my set, and I always feel a special atmosphere emerge when it drops. Riot Code is another very promising and talented duo that you should keep an eye on.
Lars Huissmann – Fusion [Mutual Rytm]
He’s no longer an artist to be introduced, with his millimeter-accurate, ultra-catchy tracks, a groove that makes you want to keep going, and hypnotic synths for a pure experience. I love to play this kind of groovy stuff, always giving some fresh air to the set.
Somewhen, Coco Paloma – Restless [R Label Group]
For me, this track is a hit, combining all the codes to remain timeless and a melody that remains engraved in the head, an arrangement that remains simple without overdoing it, but that’s the complexity of the track, ultra effective!
Keyo – Kick Into Your Ass [Taapion]
A beautiful production, which I also like to play at the end of my set, with a mood full of melancholy as it is full of energy. Love it.
Lulu – Sesame Season – [Elixyr]
An ultra-catchy track based on groove, repetitive vocals, and tribal sounds — big mood guaranteed when I play it.
Farrago, Part Time Killer – The Keymaster [Exhale]
“The Keymaster” is a very groovy tune full of percussion with a strong psytrance influence, a vocal that adds a layer to the already strong rhythm, resulting in an ultra-catchy track.
Beatport welcomes its new Central American and South American Ambassadors.
Beatport’s Ambassador program is a community-centric initiative to highlight emerging talent globally while fostering connections with local dance music culture. The Ambassador team serves as a crucial link to regional scenes, offering insights into the unique tastes, trends, and key players shaping each region’s musical landscape.
Meet our first round of Beatport Ambassadors below! We will announce more Central and South American artists joining our roster later this year, along with additional artists from continents around the globe.
Brenda M is a renowned DJ and music producer originally from the Dominican Republic, whose career began in 2011. Since then, she has managed to establish herself as a prominent figure in the underground scene of electronic music, with a growing fan base and significant influence on the new generations.
She has shared the stage with some of the world’s most renowned DJs, such as Supernova, Yaya, Joeski, Juliet Sikora, Paco Osuna, Marco Carolla, Stacey Pullen, amongst many others, while also releasing records through celebrated labels like Great Stuff Recordings, Happy Techno Music, Underground Berlin, and more.
Committed to the development and growth of electronic music in her country, Brenda M has decided to create a community of DJs and producers. Currently, she runs an academy called INNERTONE ACADEMY, where she shares her knowledge and experience with local aspiring DJs and producers who aim to become professionals in their field. Her dedication to the training of new talents is a testament to her love for music and her desire to drive the growth of the electronic music scene in the Dominican Republic.
Ecuadorian DJ/Producer Andre Bass is the co-founder of Kankari Music Lab (alongside Mike Jaguar), the premier DJ school in her home country that also holds many events to promote and publicize the new emerging talents coming out of Ecuador.
She has shared a booth with international artists such as Del Fonda, Lexlay, Macassi, Gocci Bosca, Oostil from Afterlife, and she performs regularly at the #25 ranked club in the world by DJ Mag —Lost Beach Club in Montañita, Ecuador.
Her music has traveled the entire country, standing out in each of her presentations with her own style of underground electronic music. Her productions have been picked up by numerous international labels such as Oceanic Recording, Natural Soul, Tres14 Music, Arawak Records, Ride Music, and she continuously releases music on her own Kankari Records imprint.
Mike Jaguar started in the world of electronic music when he was 15 years old. Since then, the Ecuadorian DJ/Producer has dedicated all his time and effort to the scene’s growth in his home country. In 2016, he created Kankari Music Lab — a school dedicated to training DJs and producers that hosts underground electronic music events for many of Ecuador’s new and emerging talents.
He has been a resident DJ and performs regularly at the storied Lost Beach Club in Montañita and has shared the decks with artists like Giorgia Angiulli, Deborah de Luca, Boryana, Del Fonda, Gocci Bosca, Simon Baker, Manuel Sahagun, Lexlay, and more.
His productions have been picked up by a whole host of international labels such as Cachai, New Violence, Little Herpers, Hatching Creatures, and Ride Music — imprints that have helped see his distinctive Deep Tech sound travel far and wide on dance floors around the globe.
Born in Cuenca, Ecuador, one of DJ/producer Majo Orellana‘s main mottos is “love what you do.” This mentality has helped make her one of the most relevant DJs in her country. Her passion for electronic music has led her to share a booth with international DJs and producers such as Boryana, Jose M & Tacoman, Alexi Delano, Gocci, Edu Imbernon, Exos, Julia Govor, Stefano Noferini, Marc Houle, Valentino, ANOTR, Bushwacka, and more.
Majo has performed at her country’s beloved Rotofest Festival and has regularly hit the decks at Lost Beach Club in Montañita while also playing the club’s ensuing city takeovers in Quito, Guayaquil, and her hometown of Cuenca.
Majo Orellana studies Musical Instrument Performance (violin) at the José María Rodríguez Superior Conservatory in Cuenca. She is also an alumnus of the Kankari Music Lab in the city of Guayaquil, resulting in the release of her Subliminal EP on Kankair Recordings, peaking at #48 on the Top 100 Minimal Deep Tech Releases on Beatport.
Trained at the school of the renowned electronic music club in Guayaquil, Monovox, María Gracia González (aka María The Grace) has always been part of the scene for her passion for house music, which has now led her to be behind the DJ booth. Since 2020 she has performed at one of DJ Mag’s top 100 clubs, Lost Beach Club in Montañita. María has toured the coast, highlands, and rainforests of Ecuador, being part of line-ups with artists like Steve Bug, Hector Couto, Ninetoes, Nathan Barato, and Felipe Gordon with the house, tech house, and nu-disco style that characterizes her.
Currently, she is co-founder of the Audia Collective, whose mission is to position and promote female talent in the electronic scene. Audia Collective is a meeting point, link, and visibility for talents and the female audience in the country. Audia’s mission is to create a support and collaboration network between Ecuadorian women in the electronic music industry, fostering solidarity and the exchange of knowledge and experiences.
Nicolle Meng is a DJ/producer from Guatemala. By loving and exploring art in all its forms, she has found freedom and a creative shelter in music. In her short yet rather accelerated career, she exhibits an excellent and solid technique with an electric musical selection performing very dynamic sets, accompanied by a coherent development in her sessions with organic components mixed with acid and retro sounds that make her one of the most sought after DJs in her country and all over Central America.
Having only just recently embarked on her first South American tour, she performed at some of the continent’s best clubs in cities like Quito, Lima, Piura, and Cusco. Her defined style of sound leans in the camps of Minimal, Electro, and Acid House, but her drive to explore a vast spectrum of genres takes her to incorporate Indie Dance, Techno, Breaks, and Disco into her thrilling sets that have set dance floor ablaze.
Having emerged from such a small scene, driven by her talent and passion for performing internationally, Nicolle Meng is an artist to look out for in the underground electronic music circuit.
Revisit the Beatsource x DJcity LinkUp event (London)
On September 10th, DJs from across the UK came together to meet in West London for the latest edition of Beatsource x DJcity x Beatport Linkup. With a host of panels and speakers on the program, attendees had the opportunity to network, catch up with friends and listen to a series of insightful discussions about the latest in DJing technology and other current topics in the community.
Hosted by online DJ school Crossfader, the first panel discussion covered subjects such as how to get gigs and harness the power of social media, as well as the evolution of DJ hardware and software and the implications of this for DJs both recreational and professional.
“Many DJs are aware of each other through social media, but their busy schedules often prevent them from developing those relationships further. The DJcity Linkup was created to bring together DJs from around the country in one place at the same time. DJs attend the Linkup to discuss the latest music and technology trends and share ideas and opportunities.” – DJcity UK
The advent of Serato’s DVS (digital vinyl system) was quoted as a key point where a whole new set of possibilities opened up to DJs. Likewise, the Pioneer CDJ-3000 unlocked unprecedented capabilities, allowing DJs to streamline and transform their workflow and performances. On the other hand, the issue of connectivity was stated as a huge hurdle for DJ technology, which only now seems to be making positive headway.
The panel was joined by Pioneer DJ’s product planning executive Jack Canham who gave insights into how with each iteration, product lines are being devised to meet the specific current – as well as future – needs of DJs. One example of this is how Pioneer has focused on the visual element on their products, not just on the hardware but on-screen with elements such as waveforms.
On the subject of product planning, Canham spoke about the level of work that goes into the research and design of products. For example, products that are already in the pipeline are slated for release in as far as 2027 – giving perspective on the timeline for the development of such products.
“We don’t just push products out. It takes a long, long time to develop them.” – Jack Canham
The future seems bright for DJ tech, with DJ and Beatsource product specialist Mojaxx stating: “I’m waiting for the day where I can just log in to the CDJ with my password and it’s all there and ready to go… And we’re not there yet but we’re getting closer – with the 3000s I can now log into Beatsource and access all my playlists.”
He went on to stress the importance of strengthening the dialogue between product organizations and the DJing community, encouraging the audience to email brands as well as use networking events like this one to speak to them in person – such as Serato, Beatsource, Pioneer, and Westend DJ who were all present at the event.
“Your voices are being heard – these companies are listening to DJs. Talk to us, it’s so important to make your voice heard.” – Mojaxx
The second discussion was a live edition of The TalkOver Podcast, hosted by DJ Dubl and guest DJ Cee B. Tackling age-old topics such as DJ etiquette, the role of the warm-up DJ, nightmare track requests from the crowd, and striving for transparency within the DJ industry regarding money and rates.
The event was rounded off with a free raffle competition, where nine winners won a Serato gift pack and one lucky winner went home with a brand new Pioneer DDJ Rev5 controller.
On what was a humid late-Summer Sunday afternoon, the event proved to be a valuable and informative opportunity for DJs from all over to share ideas, get industry insights, and make new connections.
Welcome back to On Our Radar, Beatportal’s monthly roundup of the DJs and producers we can’t get enough of.
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.
Hailing from the Scottish highlands, Acutek’s been on a non-stop upward trajectory since he started DJing and producing over ten years ago. Inspired by Slam, Petrichor, Frai.zer and Pan-Pot, he’s become an ambassador for Scottish nightlife while progressing the sound of global techno with his atmospheric storytelling and gritty grooves. This month he releases his Losing GripEP, the 4th release on Acutek’s Flick imprint. The 4-track project includes a Reset Robot remix of the title track, followed by Wait A Minute, a loopy slow-burner that bursts with energy, and Doctors Note, a hypnotic techno track complete with droning vocals and ceaseless rhythms. Every Flick release so far has hit number one on Beatport’s Raw/Deep/Hypnotic Techno charts, and with early support from DVS1, Charlotte De Witte, ANNA, Ben Sims & Luke Slater, it seems this release will be no different.
On September 8th, up-and-coming Lebanese DJ/producer Amal Nemer releases her Eraser EP on Farris Wheel Recordings. The EP showcases the producer’s ability to build narratives through captivating soundscapes, with music that spans house, tech house and techno. The EP was inspired by a particularly transcendent Solomon set, which led to three straight days holed up in her studio and the birth of this EP. Raised in Venezuela and now living in Miami, Nemer has built a growing catalogue of music, releasing on labels like Glasgow Underground, Nervous Records, Cafe De Anatolia, Natura Viva, Happy Techno Music and Space Invaders amongst others. And her DJ sets are just as compelling – Miami has fallen in love with her combination of afro, tech, melodic house and techno – and with her own real estate and clothing business and a Miss Venezuela title, there’s not much this artist can’t do.
This summer, Amsterdam-based duo Makèz teamed up with Life on Planets to create what many say is the house track of the summer. “Downstream” is a rolling, jazz-leaning house extravaganza that compels crowds of thousands to sing along to its contagious opening line “Mama spend some time with me.” The release comes after a busy few years for Makèz, who have been making waves within the Dutch club scene for a while now. After they released their debut EP Different Planets in 2019, they quickly went international, and have since released on local label Heist Recordings as well as Let’s Play House, Sonic Soil and NO ART. Seth Troxler, Groove Armada, Chez Damier, and Dam Swindle count themselves as fans, with “Downstream” named Essential New Tune on BBC Radio 1 with Pete Tong, so do millions of others.
This month, HÖR regular and Rinse resident Bae Blade releases her debut EP Mixed Feelings on Partiboi69’s Mutual Pleasure. The 4-track project showcases the Dortmund DJ’s unique production style, with a mixture of hard-edged and relentless techno, breakbeat and trance. The Bae Blade project took off during lockdown when the artist uploaded a mix that went lowkey viral, securing her a debut set at HÖR. The project has grown exponentially from there, with a Rinse residency kicking off in February 2023 and a slew of international gigs. “The four tracks on this EP are so different from each other,” she says. “From 4 to the floor beat, to electro to that 808 hip-hop beat, the rapping… I don’t want to be confined to one genre. As humans we do different things, we have different sides to us. That’s what I want to show in my music.”
In August, Colombian-American producer, DJ and promoter, zorenLo, released his debut project as a recording artist: PERREO inTECHNO. The album explores the intersection of reggaeton and techno, while maintaining the sound he’s cultivated over the past decade as a staple in Brooklyn’s underground scene. Known for his multifaceted musical output, his party series Rollup and his residency at Bossa Nova Civic Club, the album champions a new side of zorenLo’s artistry, gliding through genres including guaracha, champeta and Spanish hip-hop. The album follows a booming few years for the artist, with releases on Sorry Records, Loveless Records, Circular Jaw, One Eight Hundred and more, and DJ sets at Knockdown Center, Mood Ring, Elsewhere, Jupiter Disco Paragon, Video Club and Calle 9.
Musically speaking, there isn’t much Blanka Barbara can’t do. The London-based, Poland-born artist is a producer, live act, DJ and live-streamer, as well as a classically trained pianist and composer. Since 2020 her name’s been across hundreds of releases, mostly within the melodic techno and progressive house sphere, on labels including Lane 8’s This Never Happened and John 00 Fleming’s JOOF Recordings. Her 2021 track “Lost in Digital Fog” held the top spot in Beatport’s Progressive House charts for over 3 weeks, and her music is supported by leading names in the industry, including Hernan Cattaneo, Cosmic Gate, DJ Ruby, Basil O’Glue and Marsh. Her recent release “Fractured Heart” is a raw, textured trance track that meticulously weaves elements of techno with classical composition to create a narrative-led musical voyage.
Learn more about our previous On Our Radar artists from this year:
MusicHub Launches Empowering Women* Masterclass and Mentorship Program
MusicHub is a Berlin-based digital music platform that offers tools and solutions for distribution, promotions, rights and more, created in 2020 by the German rights collection society GEMA (“Society for musical performing and mechanical production rights”).
This Autumn, MusicHub is launching its Empowering Women* in Electronic Music campaign – which involves a series of free web masterclasses from a selection of female* mentors all with established careers within the music industry.
The aim of the classes is to empower emerging female* artists with guidance on how to elevate their careers to the next level, raising profile and developing new income streams. Each session will cover a range of areas, from confidence and mindset, to navigating the industry and honing in on the production process.
“With the program, our aim is to provide women with a toolkit so that they can empower themselves and support each other in the electronic music scene in the long run […] We want to raise awareness for the disparities in the music industry among all stakeholders and across all genders – so that not only women* empower women*, but everyone contributes to a gender equal industry.” – Ariane Petschow, MusicHub
Each mentor will give a special masterclass giving insights into their individual careers, highlighting their challenges, successes and learnings moving through the ranks in a male-dominated industry.
Five selected applicants will also get the opportunity to be personally mentored by Anja Schneider and Camea in 1:1 sessions, in-person or online.
There are a total of five hundred places to be allocated to successful applicants for the masterclasses. MusicHub are also offering the first one hundred female* applicants who register for the newly available distribution to Beatport a €48 discount via the MusicHub Essential plan.
Empowering Women* is open to those who define themselves as female, inter*, non-binary, trans* and agender electronic musicians. To register for the masterclasses applicants should fill out the form, and supply any supporting links and material to be considered for mentorship.
The deadline for applications is 24th September (2023), with dates for the masterclasses to be announced in October.
Legendary Chicago players and visiting acts alike from ARC Festival’s 2023 lineup select their top tracks of the glorious three-day event.
It’s one thing to know and celebrate Chicago’s heritage as the birthplace of house music, but it’s another thing entirely to participate in it. Having just wrapped up its third edition, ARC Festival has filled a gaping hole in Chicago’s vital and historic clubland culture — creating the city’s very own flagship house music festival.
Taking place over Labor Day Weekend, this seamless three-day dance floor spectacular brought electronic music heroes, achievers, newcomers, and revelers from all walks of life to indulge in The Windy City’s fetching atmosphere and world-class nightlife. Beatport was on the scene, teaming up with Lady of the House to ring in the festivities with local legends DJ Heather and DJ Lady D for an official pre-party, and there was so much more to come.
New to the festival this year was the gladiatorial techno hub known as the Area 909 — a stage erected as “an homage to the brotherhood between Detroit and Chicago, the founding fathers of this sound,” as festival founder John Curley described it to Beatport. This intimate setting saw raw and rowdy sets from Nina Kraviz, Phuture, Mike Dunn, Terry Hunter, Dax J, Sara Landry, and more.
Dreamed up by the clubland aficionados over at Auris Presents — Chicago’s premier promotion & events company for dance music — ARC Festival’s sheer dedication to championing Chicago’s house music heroes on each year’s lineup is what sets the ethos of ARC Festival apart from the rest. “Without them, ARC would not be here. It’s as simple as that,” festival founder Stuart Hackley explains. “The artists who come here to play from all over the world know and understand the role and significance that these Chicago acts have played in making the house music scene what it is today, and they are not only thrilled to be sharing the stage with them, they want to go B2B with them as well! That’s the real beauty of ARC that’s hard to find elsewhere.”
We linked up with some of ARC Festival’s storied Chicago players and a handful of other acts that appeared on the lineup to ask them what their favorite track drop of the festival was and why. Check out their answers below!
DJ Lady D – Courtesy of ARC Music Festival // [Victoria Sanders – @veesanders]
DJ LADY D
Chemars – Real Love [Grinko Music]
“It samples a Chicago classic, “Dr. Love” by First Choice — my absolute favorite of all time. He adds a jazzy sax riff in there for texture and colors it with a sweet vocal hook. I knew the crowd would feel it as deeply as I do and groove out to that undeniable bassline. Watching people really get into it was a joy.” – DJ Lady D
Body Ocean – Yes Sir [Dirtybird]
“I’ve really loved playing Body Ocean’s “Yes Sir” during my sets lately, and Sunday at ARC Music Festival was no different. It really lifts the entire room, including the fringes, with a fully immersive sound bath and, in my opinion, floods folks with serotonin. I absolutely love this track.” – Kevin Knapp
Hiroko Yamamura – Courtesy of ARC Music Festival // [Victoria Sanders – @veesanders]
Green Velvet – Flash (The Advent & Industrialyzer Remix) [Relief]
“After a long day of relentless dancing and pounding techno, finding a way to add velocity to the set was a challenge, but a secret weapon is always, Chicago’s Green Velvet’s “Flash.” The Advent and Industrialyzer Remix is extremely respectful to the source material, but really elevates the track into a different more sinister energy. It resonated perfectly as we closed ARC at the 909 stage, alongside some of the coolest people to stomp the ground at the festival til the last boom.” – Hiroko Yamamura
DJ Seinfeld, Confidence Man – Now Do U [Ninja Tune]
“I am absolutely in love with DJ Seinfeld and Confidence Man’s latest tune, “Now U Do.” It’s positive, uplifting and has that special emotional hook & tone that makes you feel alive, and tugs at your heartstrings. It’s perfect for my sets to balance & lighten my edgy, darker and trippy tech side.” – Tara Brooks
Gene Farris – Courtesy of ARC Music Festival // [Victoria Sanders – @veesanders]
Gene Farris – Limousine [Stress Records]
“My favorite track during my ARC set was ‘Limousine’ — my track on Stress Records. This song has been one of the biggest songs in my sets all summer! The support and response has been unbelievable from the crowds, plus other big DJs playing it in their sets love this song.” – Gene Farris
Kyle Walker – Them Drums [Club Sweat]
“I always felt that this track was perfect for an elrow party and it definitely connected with the crowd. The percussive drums of the song paired with the theme of the stage made for a great moment.” – Kyle Walker
DJ Minx – Courtesy of ARC Music Festival // [Victoria Sanders – @veesanders]
DJ Minx – D Town (Inner City Remix) [Women On Wax Recordings]
“I love the way that Inner City vibe slices the original vocals and their signature synth lines to give the track a total Detroit feel. When the bass was delivered, the dancers in the back felt it first…I saw it! Always a crowd shuffler, this track is my absolute favorite of the weekend.” – DJ Minx
Alok & Pickle – Drum Machine [CONTROVERSIA]
“This track has been a consistent crowd-pleaser in my recent sets. The bass in this track is so powerful, a testament to the skillful work put into making the tune.” – Wade
The Detroit-born and London-based DJ/producer and Semi Delicious boss Demi Riquísimo delivers a delectable list of surefire dance floor treats for Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
Hey, I’m Demi Riquísimo, a producer and DJ from London. I run a label and event series called ‘Semi Delicious’, and this is a selection of some of the tracks I’ve been playing out in my sets as of late. I rarely stick to one genre when I’m DJing out and this collection sums up some of my favorite producers, including Fantastic Man, Jex Opolis and Aldonna. I’ll next be playing at our label takeover at Coroners Court in Bristol on the 23rd of September with Black Loops, Gallegos, Bex and Milly On Air.
Jex has been one of my favorite producers for the last few years. Always pushing new sounds and surprises me with each release. This track is no exception.
Demi Riquísimo – Talk To Frank [Life And Death]
One of my own records, a track I’m still very happy with even though it came out a couple of months ago, and I’ve played it to death. Works well for warm-up sets and even peak time sets. I’m really happy to be a part of DJ Tennis’ Life & Death label, too.
Aldonna – Pisa 97 [Permanent Vacation]
Aldonna is an artist to watch out for and also part of the Semi Delicious family. I love this track that’s out on Permanent Vacation. Her production style is original and shines through the current prog fog that’s circulating.
Fantastic Man – Alltogethernow [Kalahari Oyster Cult]
I’ve been a huge fan of Fantastic Man for years. All his releases are so clean and exactly what I look for when searching for new music to sign and also play out. This one on the fantastic Kalahari Oyster Cult is a firm favorite.
Baldo – Ride The Night [Permanent Vacation]
This track from Baldo has been a go-to in my sets over the last nine months. Such a slamming hit.
Rex The Dog – Sicko [Kompakt]
“Sicko” by Rex The dog is one of my biggest inspirations for the music I make. Don’t think I need to say much more about it.
DJ Romain – All Day, All Night [Nite Grooves]
I’m a massive house head and this has always been one of my most treasured house tracks of all time. Always great to lift the mood.
Omri Smadar, Roy Shpilman – Adama [Hard Fist]
Omri Smadar was a DJ I met in Tel Aviv and was a guest at our Semi Delicious party at Hive Club in the heart of the city a while back. His music is instantly identifiable, and this track is a testament to that.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – When the Lights Go (Paula Tape Remix) [Nice Age Music]
Paul Tape is an amazing DJ and producer that I’ve been a huge fan of for a while. Her sets and productions are always eclectic and distinguished and this remix of TEED is a perfect example of that.
Burnski – Trigger [Constant Sound]
To me, this is modern tech house at its finest: simple, stripped back, great groove, and a cutting bass. Hits hard in the club and normally slips into my sets when the time is right.
Producers can now submit their demos to Defected Records (and all its sub-labels) directly through LabelRadar.
Defected Records, the iconic house music institution and Beatport’s top-selling label, is joining LabelRadar and opening its doors to accept demos from the global artist community!
Founded in 1999 by Simon Dunmore, Defected Records has solidified its position as a cornerstone in the international house music community. Boasting an impressive repertoire of chart-topping dance floor hits from heavyweight artists like Jamie Jones, John Summit, Hannah Wants, Masters at Work, CamelPhat, MK, Purple Disco Machine, Riva Starr, and so many more, Defected Records represents the pinnacle of house music excellence. Defected Records was acquired by Wez Saunders 2022, who now serves as CEO.
Defected has been focused on supporting new talent, most recently with Defected’s ‘Unsung Heroes’ initiative — giving up-and-coming DJs a chance to become resident DJs for the label in various locations worldwide. Now, they have joined LabelRadar to open up demo submissions and discover the next wave of talented producers that will join the ranks of their storied artist roster!
Wez Saunders, CEO and owner of Defected Records commented: “Having worked with developing acts for nearly two decades, finding and nurturing new talent is high on my agenda. Demos have historically been a challenge for us. However, with LabelRadar, we believe we have found a solution that will help streamline this process and enable our A&Rs more quality time to check and review demos for the labels within the Defected ecosystem.”
“Navigating the deluge of demos that flood any record label can be an exhilarating yet demanding experience,” said Allan Nicoll, Head A&R of Defected Records. “I have spent many years trying to find the best way to deal with an unrelenting inbox, and LabelRadar is the definitive solution: streamlining the process, liberating valuable time for concentrated artist development, and propelling our commitment to nurturing exceptional musical talent.”
LabelRadar is an important part of Beatport’s Music Services division, whose goal is to provide a powerful suite of tools to help support artists and labels. By partnering up with LabelRadar, the A&R team at Defected will now have a streamlined demo submission process, empowering both up-and-coming artists and the label itself to review new submissions in an efficient way.
Harry Levin sits down with London legend Skream to discuss the 11-year break between ‘Skreamizm’ EPs, his return to playing dubstep, and more.
It’s been over a decade since Skream added the “izm.”
But what is the “izm”?
Between the years of 2006 and 2012, the “izm” may have seemed bound to dubstep considering that during that period of time, Skream (a native Croydonian by the name of Oliver Jones), released seven EPs under the now mythical moniker of Skreamizm, aptly titled Skreamizm Vol. 1 to Skreamizm Vol. 7.
Within these seven releases were his well-earned reputation as a pioneer of the then burgeoning genre — a style that juxtaposed the deepest, most grueling basslines stemming from Caribbean-born soundsystem culture against slicing snares tantamount to cracks of lightning.
To the fans, every new Skreamizm EP was the next step in the evolution of dubstep, basking in the frequencies of tracks that still define the sound to this day like “Filth,” “Dub Period,” and “Make Me.”
To Skream, the “izm” goes far deeper than any wobbly bassline he’s ever produced
“Skreamizm is all about a body of work at a period of time,” Jones says, speaking to Beatportal at Beatport’s London offices in Farringdon. “Something that we’re keeping going with Skreamizm in particular, there’s a story or a connection behind [everything].”
Now Jones is continuing that story for the first time in 11 years with the release of Skreamizm 8.
In that longstanding interim, quite a lot has changed in Jones’s life. He made a widely publicized separation from dubstep. He’s now a father to two children. In recent days he’s also made the decision to be sober.
With so much change, it’s only natural the scope of this latest chapter in the story would be more layered in its presentation.
“Each Skreamizm [before Skreamizm 8] was what I made in that summer. [Skreamizm 8] is a snapshot of just a slightly longer period of time,” Jones says. “It’s a retrospective record. The majority of the music I’m making is very retrospective, and everything I’m working on is somehow influenced by some point in the last 22 years of Skream.”
Towards the beginning of those 22 years, Skream was inseparable from dubstep, but it was actually just following the release of Skreamizm Vol. 7 that he made a break from the genre, he himself admitting he was pushing it until he “didn’t recognize it anymore.”
His very next release after Skreamizm Vol. 7 (which included non dubstep tracks like the squelchy UK bass tune “Sticky,” and seductive electropop single “Copycat,”) was the bona fide disco heater, “Rollercoaster” featuring Jones’ frequent collaborator, Sam Frank.
See, while dubstep was his thing for quite a few years, Jones’ upbringing defied the idea of staying in one lane, musically.
“I’m from the house party generation where DJs played everything, trying to make people go mad,” says Jones.
Over the past 11 years — that longer period of time embodied within Skreamizm 8 — Jones spent his time producing music for no other purpose than to make people go mad.
House, techno, UK garage, electro, disco, breaks, all of them and more have all come into his discography in the past decade, and the new EP, across its 11 tracks (the most extensive of the entire Skreamizm series), demonstrates this intention for diversity beyond a reasonable doubt.
“It sounds evolved because you learn a lot in 11 years,” Jones says with chuckle. “It felt at home in that series and it’s quite nice to have the series back.”
In November of last year, Jones said Skreamizm 8 is his “best work to date,” and concurrently, there isn’t one track on the release that clearly belongs in one bin or the other.
“Your Love,” takes a high-energy rave beat and pairs it with acid 303 lines alongside the pure soul vocals of Barbados’ own Lagoon Wavey.
“Waiheke Island,” a co-production with Jones’ Leeds-based cohorts, Prospa, starts outs breakbeat before deep house chords come in and the beat realigns at four-on-the-floor under progressive, uplifting melodies.
“I’ve always tried to float between the lines with stuff I’m into around that period,” Jones says. “I just try and put things together that shouldn’t really work.”
One track that epitomizes this idea is “Thinking Of You,” which combines grime drums, orchestral keys, and Jones’ own voice, or as he describes it: “me talking.”
Not only is putting his own voice in one his tracks outside of his general production pallet — feeding the idea of mixing different elements together — but the presence of his voice has its own story behind like every other element of the Skreamizm legacy:
“It was initially a voice note I recorded on a somber day during lockdown to my kids for their future,” Jones says.
In the recording he addresses the fears and stresses of lockdown, offers hope for the future, shares realities of life, admits his own inability to predict what’s coming next, and ends with the most important fact: that he loves his children.
“It was never meant to be a song. I started to write some stuff under it and it seemed quite natural,” Jones says. “I played it to a couple people and they cried. Literally the first person I played it to cried. I was a real emotional thing. The words meant something.”
One line Jones says on “Thinking Of You” that means something to him is:
“It’s what you got to go through to get to the place that you want to be.”
Speaking musically, Jones is in the place he wants to be. Producing his best work yet. Reviving the Skreamizm series, and in order to get to this place of contentment, what Jones had to go through was the COVID-19 lockdown.
“[Lockdown] needs to be mentioned. It broke people. It made people. Being in the studio for that two years was what really got me best friends with my studio again because I wasn’t just making music for Friday nights or Saturday nights. I didn’t have any expectancy from ravers, and I got massively into making music again.”
As we sit in the boardroom of the Beatport office, Jones goes on to say that he made nearly 1000 tracks in those two years of lockdown. He turns to his manager, Scott Paterson, who is sitting to his left, to confirm.
Paterson thinks the number is only 450.
“I thought it was 900 by the second year?” Jones says to Paterson. “You told me it was 480 by the first December.”
Paterson goes to his laptop and starts pulling up folders with tracks from Jones. 254 in the first pile. 259 in the second. Then 50. Then 71. Then 11. Then 31. Then another with 122.
“Most of it was strong. If lockdown didn’t happen I don’t think I would have put out a body of work as a body of work. I don’t really care what anyone thinks of [Skreamizm 8] because I think it’s really good,” Jones says. “And there’s other stuff. I managed to get a point where I’m not just Skream from dubstep. The journey’s been fairly successful since I stopped ultimately just playing dubstep, and I don’t mind playing dubstep shows again because I’m fully comfortable where I’m at with what I’m doing.”
In recent years, Jones’ reentry into dubstep has been massive. He’s shared three compilations of unreleased tracks from the early to mid 00’s, each under the title of Unreleased Classics.
He released “Summoned,” a dubstep track on the fabric Originals compilation in April. He’s also played dubstep at numerous festivals including EDC Las Vegas, Do LaB at Coachella, HARD Summer, and even a 6.5 hour set at Shambhala—the first festival he played in North America all the way back in 2006.
“Dubstep has gone full circle. I always knew it would happen. Everyone got the noisiest they could get because there’s only so fuckin’ noisey you can get. Now it’s back. Listen to ‘Rumble.’ It’s basically the music I was making in ‘06 and ‘07,” Jones says. “Everyone’s always wanted me to play dubstep, but it makes more sense now because people see the evolution. Now they really want to hear that old stuff they’ve never heard.”
After this interview, Jones and the rest of his team are going around the corner to the legendary London nightclub fabric to discuss the release party for Skreamizm 8.
On the weekend of October 20-21, Skream will take over all three rooms in fabric with more than 20 artists across the two days, but the most anticipated set is surely a B2B between Jones and an artist with whom he made some of his earliest records on a Playstation. An artist who was right alongside him throughout that evolution of dubstep: Benga.
This will be their first set together in over ten years (apart from a reunion of their supergroup Magnetic Man with Artwork to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Big Apple Records at XOYO in 2018), with the last taking place during their famed residency on BBC Radio 1.
“Whether I don’t see Benny in ten years or ten minutes it’s exactly the same. It’s fucking great. It’s magical really. Lots of laughter. Lots and lots of laughter,” Jones says putting specific emphasis on laughter of it all. “Still don’t got any idea what we’re playing on the night which is the stressful part, but we’ll figure it out. He’s on fire in form.”
Like the Skreamizm EPs, every artist who plays a Skreamizm party (the parties continued in between the EPs) alludes to a specific story or connection in Jones’ evolution as an artist.
The connection with Benga is clear. Another artist performing for the Skreamizn 8 release party are the Detroit techno outfit Octave One who played the one of the first Skreamizm parties ever. On the second night, Jones will play together with Scottish house sensation Ewan McVicar all night long, following up a celebrated shared set at Hideout Festival in Croatia last year.
“The lineup we put together is festival-worthy. It’s strong. Nods backwards. Nods forwards,” Jones says. “Friends of old and new.”
One friend of Jones who tragically will not be present on the lineup or in the dancefloor is Jamie Roy, the Scottish house music wunderkind who passed away in September of last year at the age of 33.
However, being that they were very close mates, Jones included two sonic eulogies for Roy on Skreamizm 8: “Roy The Boy,” and “Not Ready Yet.”
“[‘Roy The Boy’] was the made the night that we found out. It was a hard record to finish. That was everything that I felt at that minute in time, and that’s why it sounds like a sad record. You can hear the sadness in it. ‘Not Ready Yet’ was a few days after, I think,” Jones says. I wasn’t sure if I was going to put it on there because it was quite hard listening to it, but I had to put something on there.”
In addition to the two tracks, the blue flowers on the cover art for Skreamizm 8 are meant to reflect Roy. Jones admits the EP is very much in his honor, and as someone who played a pivotal role in Jones own life, Roy is, by nature, inseparable from Skreamizm.
That’s what is found within the “izm.” It’s not just music. It’s Jones’ playing afterparties with Jamie Roy on the island of Ibiza. It’s Jones meeting Benga for the first time while he was working at Big Apple Records as a teenager.
The “izm” is the living history of Skream, a story that’s now spanned 22 years. A story that will live on in the annals of electronic music for generations to come.
BeatKOR is a new personalized music experience that allows fans to create music with an AI sound model that has been developed in collaboration with prominent electronic artists. Fans and artists can use the companion to discover new sounds, create and collect exclusive tracks, and earn from their creations, with ethical AI technology.
interactive music platform PIXELYNX has partnered up with Beatport to launch its new and innovative AI music creation tool, the BeatKOR companion. As part of PIXELYNX’s KORUS music platform, BeatKOR will enable creators and fans to remix music from iconic and emerging artists through new interactive modes and exclusive musical content on the platform.
BeatKOR is the latest in PIXELYNX’s collection of KORs, which are musical companions that creators and fans use to craft AI-generated music on the KORUS platform.
Your personal music producer from KORUS has arrived.
The KORUS platform is shaping the next generation of music creation. Join the inner circle and reserve an exclusive AI music companion brought to you by @KORUS_AI and @Beatport. Sign up here to get first access to the free… pic.twitter.com/dPC35mmlkd
Following the reveal, PIXELYNX will drop the BeatKOR collection on September 13, powered by officially licensed stems and tracks from a number of prominent artists, including Jitwam, Elle Shimada, BRUX, and others.
Users can create their personalized tracks and go even deeper into their favorite music communities by trading, remixing, and sharing music. A user can choose to “own” their song by officially putting it on the blockchain. This will give the user commercial rights to release their music and use it in new ways. In the near future, KORUS will even help users distribute their music onto DSPs with the support from official partners.
To obtain a FREE BeatKOR, users can visit the KORUS website and sign up by September 10th. On September 13 PIXELYNX will airdrop the BeatKOR for free, and from there holders will be able to start making original tracks, saving, and downloading their new outputs to own and share with other creators within the KORUS ecosystem.
Featuring field-recorded sounds straight from the heart of Notting Hill’s colorful Carnival celebrations, grab a free download of Beatport and Loopcloud’s Carnival Unmuted sample pack.
Beatport Sounds, the sample pack label from Beatport, has released Carnival Unmuted, a collection of vibrant sounds recorded at London’s recent Notting Hill Carnival. The project is a collaboration between Beatsource, the music streaming service for DJs who play everything, and Loopcloud, the world’s largest sound library.
Carnival Unmuted aims to amplify the sounds and energy of Caribbean culture and celebrate the freedom of self-expression. Beatport’s team captured as many sounds as possible during the festival, including the crowd (both the group and the individuals), performers, floats, costumes, and more. Beatport also commissioned a diverse team of producers, including SpydaT.E.K, Arwa, DJames, GG, 99makavelli, and Madness Muv, to make beats with the samples. Their work can be heard via the Instagram carousel below.
The Unmuted series allows Beatport and Loopcloud’s diverse groups of music producers to incorporate original and enriching sounds taken from celebrations and situations from across the globe — helping to break down cultural barriers and amplify the voices of vital communities who demand to be heard.
The Notting Hill Carnival is one of the world’s largest street festivals, with over two million attendees annually. It celebrates the British West Indian community and encourages cultural unity. The festival sprang up in the ’60s as a way to address community unrest and improve racial relations.
Carnival Unmuted stands as the second chapter in Beatport Sounds’ Unmuted Series, a platform dedicated to amplifying the distinctive sounds and meaningful voices of events that resonate with the company’s fundamental values and mission.
Australian duo Yolanda Be Cool celebrate their first release on the pair’s new Sweatrz Records imprint with some steamy dance floor selects for Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
Hi there! We’re Matt and Andy from Yolanda Be Cool. We’re Aussies living between Sydney (Andy) and LA (Matt). We spend our time working on tunes, touring and A&R’ing for the labels Sweat It Out, Club Sweat, and our new label SWEATRZ. We love songs that have what we call “shtick”.. something that makes them stand out and this playlist is a showcase of some of the tunes we’ve been loving and playing recently with exactly that.
Yolanda Be Cool – Hip Trumpets (feat KVISION) [Sweatrz Records]
We’ve been having a lot of fun with our new SWEATRZ label that we started with our great buddy Paluma; putting out records by artists such as Duarte, Caleb Jackson, and Cvmpanile, and after road testing “Hip Trumpets” all summer, we’re stoked to finally get our first release on the label.
Yolanda Be Cool – Segunda [Black Book Records]
This came out last month on Black Book. We’ve always been massive fans of Chris Lake and his label, and we were stoked to get the thumbs up from him on this one, which features JonJon from the legendary baile funk group FURACAO 2000.
Mele, Lazarusman – Jozi to the D [Club Bad]
Mele’s been one of our favourite producers and also a massive inspiration for a long time. He hadn’t put out music for a minute, so we were super excited to see this one in our inbox, and thankfully, it’s even better than we hoped.
Daniel Steinberg – Flotante [Club Sweat]
Daniel Steinberg is probably our most-played producer ever. We probably play at least one of his records in every set so when he hit us up with this to put out on CLUB SWEAT, we said a big fat yes. Always chunky, always funky.
Caleb Jackson – Jam Hot [Sweatrz Records]
Caleb Jackson is DEFINITELY one to watch. Apart from being THE sweetest dude ever, he also makes really fun, jacked-up, quirky, turbo-charged house music that has more energy than a double vodka Red Bull.
Boogie – Jet Black [ Solid Grooves Raw]
We love everything about this song. Out on Solid Grooves Raw, it’s sleazy and oh so steezy but yet so dance floor certified. Big love for Bibi. While we are on the topic of Solid Grooves, our thoughts and prayers are with Bibi.
Ango Tamarin – Freaks Pon Di Floor [Nothing Else Matters]
This is sick. It’s been a staple in our sets for a long time, and it never ceases to take the dancefloor to another level. ANGO is a master at making party-flavoured tech house but with techno energy, and we’re down with that.
Sally C – Hit It [Big Saldo’s Chunkers]
We’ve never met Sally C or even heard her DJ, but you can tell from her music that she’d be an absolute legend and sik behind the decks. Her productions have that dancefloor sensibility that you just know were made by a DJ who’s been rocking floors for years.
Paluma, Tyson O’Brien – Man Eater [Sweatrz Records]
Our boys Paluma and Tyson O’Brien smashed this one. It has that daytime energy and, well, a sample that you can’t not smile to…. It works anytime, anywhere.
Andruss – Frikitona [Drop Low Records]
We came across Andruss when he released on Hot Creations last year and we have been smashing his tunes ever since. He also has great taste in samples, with this one using the same sample as our first-ever tune we put out as Yolanda Be Cool. A well-needed update that we’ll be smashing for a long time.
Rising Progressive House imprint Area Verde teams up with Beatport Hype’s new label accelerator program to launch a producer competition — giving producers worldwide the opportunity to score an official release on this colorful and impressive imprint.
Throughout 2023, Beatport Hype – The Next Level will host independent production competitions alongside these five distinguished labels, allowing music producers the chance to win an official release on each imprint and widespread support from Beatport and the label itself.
These labels will release their own Loopcloud PLAY instrument packs for each competition, which will serve as the foundation of each submitted demo on LabelRadar. A 30-day free trial to Loopcloud will be offered to all competition participants.
In celebration of Area Verde’s brand new Loopcloud PLAY pack, producers are invited to create their own original tracks featuring some of the sounds that form the core essence of the project. It features a wonderful combination of tastes and sensations, including a mix of Classic and Modern Synths, Warm Bass, and Beautiful pads. This collection of ten preset patches for Loopcloud Play can be tweaked using Play’s onboard FX and mod-wheel controls to create incredibly diverse tones far different from the source sound, perfect for inspiring a new lease of compositional life.
– Official release on Area Verde* (*subject to label approval) – Beatport Streaming Pro 6 months subscription
– $50 Beatport credits
– Loopcloud Pro 6 months subscription
– Bassmaster, Scaler + Khords Plugins from Plugin Boutique
– 75 LabelRadar credits
As the label approaches its 25-year anniversary, Marcus Barnes digs in with Ghostly International founder Sam Valenti IV to explore the bold and extraordinary vision behind one of the scene’s most essential outlets for independent music.
Next year marks 25 years since Ghostly International was founded in Detroit. For those of us who have been around since its inception, it’s hard to believe the label has been around for so long. There are many factors that play into this disbelief; the passing of time increasing in speed as we get older, resistance to getting old, but most of all, the fact that the label remains so fresh and influential after nearly a quarter of a century. From the iconic logo to its diverse catalogue and a consistently progressive artist development ethos, Ghostly’s identity is open-ended and that has been central to the label’s longevity and continued relevance. Talking via Zoom, label founder Sam Valenti IV and I find common ground on a range of topics. Over the course of an hour-long chat, Sam comes across as the archetypal humble-yet-passionate music head that you might expect to helm such a respected label. Many of the key touch points, regarding the conception of a label and the community and camaraderie that was present back in 1999, when Ghostly launched, trace back to the foundational elements of society itself. Deep as that may sound, coming together and collaborating is core to the formation of “civilised” society and fundamental to the success of record labels, too. A kind of micro-to-macro comparison.
“90% of labels are just groups of friends pooling their energy and talent, throwing club nights, putting out songs. I love that camaraderie,” he says, citing Gilles Peterson and Mo’ Wax among his early influences. “They had great art direction, felt international and seemed very exotic,” he adds. “What Gilles has done over his career, the template of building culture through a label, that’s still appealing to me. It means something to have a little crew of friends united by an idea or a taste.” Similarly, Ghostly’s diversity in terms of genre also came from the labels Sam admired and the magazines he was reading, including the likes of Jockey Slut, DJ Mag and Mixmag, which gave insight into the ever-fertile British scene.
Photo: Sam Valenti IV (by Dina Chang and Tim Saccenti)
Honouring the label’s hometown and lineage, while ensuring that it wasn’t actually defined as a “Detroit label,” was also at the forefront of Sam’s mind back when Ghostly first came into being. This fed into the early experimentalism; Detroit has a rich history with many genres, and that all-encompassing outlook gave Ghostly its formative identity. Which is what Sam describes as Warp-esque. Ghostly is the product of its hometown’s DIY culture. Going way back to the roots of techno, which appeared a decade before Sam’s label was born, there was the notion of everyone having their own label. Kevin Saunderson with KMS, Juan Atkins with Metroplex, Jeff Mills with Axis, Carl Craig with Planet E Communications and so on. For Sam, growing up in the Detroit suburbs and being exposed to the local way of doing things meant the idea of starting his own label was a very accessible and real possibility. “I would see the addresses on the record labels I bought locally and they were down the street, or post boxes in Detroit or in Ann Arbor where I was going to college. It seemed very accessible,” he explains. “The idea of a label then, to me, meant pressing up some records locally, and taking them around town and selling them to the shops on consignment.”
Without getting too caught up in reminiscing about “back in the day”, this was an era where the internet was still very much in its infancy and the groundwork to get a label up and running was still driven by physical distribution. Sam, and many others from this era, and before, were filling up their cars with boxes of records and driving around themselves to get their music in all of the most important outlets. An important figure in giving Sam guidance in this early phase of the label was his friend, the late Disco D (Dave Aaron Shayman). Dave has his own club night and was already a few steps down the label path, so he was a key source of information, again, before the advent of “How to start your own record label” content, which is so easily accessible online today.
“Matthew Dear and I were total rookies. We took about a year, I’d say, to get the first record together between the production and everything else,” he explains. “We made the labels on Dave’s computer. Distribution-wise, there were probably five that mattered, and I would just fax them. I remember that was the first thing I bought, a fax machine. They’d fax you back, asking for 30 copies, which was so exciting, to think that anyone wanted our record. A lot of the rest I just sold out of my car to local stores, but it wasn’t very well organised or elegant.” As haphazard as it may have been, Sam speaks of the charm of that time, when you had to simply figure stuff out yourself or be “crafty” in order to get the contact details for a high-profile DJ or someone equally influential, for instance. Once the first release – Matthew Dear’s ‘Hands Up For Detroit’ – was pressed up and ready to roll, he had a target list of DJs he just had to get the record to, including, of course, James Lavelle and Gilles Peterson.
Photo: Matthew Dear
Photo: Galcher Lustwerk (by Michael Cina)
Sam was still a student when he launched Ghostly, taking History of Art at the University of Michigan where he met a few of the label’s initial roster, including Matthew Dear. Understanding the development and transmission of culture through art and visual communication gave Sam solid grounding from which to formalise the direction of Ghostly. His arty background even influenced the simpler elements, such as the unmistakable logo, which came from Sam doodling in class. His own progression into a label owner followed what might be considered a typical rite of passage in electronic music: carrying records into clubs when he was underage for Detroit hero DJ Houseshoes before becoming a DJ himself. He used the name DJ SpaceGhost, named after the Hanna-Barbera Productions character. Serving an apprenticeship of sorts helped introduce Sam to Detroit’s club world and, inspired by the city’s multifaceted music culture, the launch of Ghostly was perhaps inevitable. “I felt like there was room for another label coming out of the US and mixing together different genres,” he says. “The first release is more of a house record, a wannabe French Touch type thing. Then it was IDM with Tadd Mullinix, then to instrumental hip hop with Dabrye, and electro with the Disco Nouveau compilation.”
Ghostly has maintained this open outlook ever since, becoming renowned for the quality of its releases and not merely for being a “house label” or “techno label.” This was partly driven by Sam’s fears around becoming one of those labels that gets hot for a minute, but quickly becomes hated, as can often happen in electronic music. “I remember being very nervous about getting pigeonholed genre-wise, because I would watch labels I loved get really hot and then people would turn on them. The UK press would be kind of harsh once you were big,” he explains. Being flavour of the month was never part of the Ghostly agenda. Instead, it’s been about maintaining longevity, working with new artists to develop their identity and giving those artists the chance to really stretch and express themselves fully through larger bodies of work. Scanning over the label’s initial roster, and tracing the growth and development of those artists, demonstrates how this approach has been intrinsic to the success of Ghostly and its original family members. Matthew Dear, Dabrye/Tadd Mullinix, Tycho, all names that have gone on to become established figures within the electronic music world and names that have contributed to the progression of the culture.
Ghostly’s sub-label Spectral Sound, which is home to more dance floor-influenced cuts, also provided an early platform for many of today’s best-known names; Seth Troxler, Avalon Emerson, dreamcastmoe, and more. A steady flow of new, vibrant energy keeps the label relevant and in a state of progression, while it’s still anchored by those who were there at the beginning.
Photo: Brijean (by Maya Fuhr)
Photo: dreamcastmoe (by Orlando Urbina)
Photo: SUCHI (by Ed Smith)
Through Spectral, Sam is able to tap back into that DIY mentality of putting stuff “quick and dirty” so to speak. The label is home to singles and EPs, which have a more club-focused aesthetic, giving artists the chance to build momentum for their DJ career.
Meanwhile, Ghostly houses a remarkable suite of albums, from a range of artists. Offering artists the space to express themselves within such a broad, liberating format excites Sam, and it’s a form of media he is certain to remain committed to for the rest of his life. Simply connecting with new talent and envisioning what they’re capable of doing with a long-player is the course of much joy for Sam and it’s something that Ghostly fans also connect with. “It’s definitely an old-head thing, I’m not naive. I don’t think most people listen to albums front to back,” he says. “I don’t as much as I used to, unless it’s on vinyl.”
“I want to work multiple albums, I want to develop a storyline,” he adds. “I think it’s more fun. Today, we just put up two Shigeto reissues that have been out of print for a long time, and I’m just really excited that people will hear these for the first time.”
2024 will mark 25 years for Ghostly, an achievement that should, and will, be celebrated earnestly. For every label that has made it this far, there are hundreds that crumbled and never lasted the distance. Sam has spent more than two decades not only running a label, but working closely with artists and witnessing their difficulties; adapting to shifts and changes in what the people want, trends, the impact of the media, and the rise of social media. Through all of this, there have been so many lessons, leading to his current mindset. The hot and cold, rough and smooth nature of working in music, especially electronic music, is something he is now able to navigate with an experienced, accepting head on his shoulders. “It’s such a hot and cold game. I tell artists and labels all the time to prepare to be cold. It’s like you’re gonna be out of style for three or four or five years sometimes,” he says. “It doesn’t mean that you’re bad. It just means that people are looking in a different direction. That’s the nature of dance music. It’s a culture that needs newness, but the artists I’ve seen that have thrived have been able to ride those periods, and not let it shake their zeal. I guess it’s how professional athletes feel… You can’t lose your mindset, or you lose it all.”
Over the years, Ghostly has established itself as a key driver of electronic music, embracing the culture’s experimental side, celebrating artists who want to push themselves, and creating a space that is unique. The heartbeat of Ghostly has always been pure and nurturing, from the early years of putting on parties at Detroit’s legendary Motor Club, where label artists would bring their new music fresh from the studio to test on a willing dance floor, to today, with the label’s reputation for multi-genre releases and unrelenting support for the culture itself. A reflection on Sam himself, who is a father now and taking lessons from one of life’s biggest teachers. With the right balance of reflection on the past, together with a vision of the future, Sam’s mindset remains steadfast on his ethos, keeping things open. Always.
“I’m not a true techno optimist, I’m a bit of a chaotic neutral thinker,” he says. “There are so many really great ways to release music now and great ways to present yourself. It just requires everybody to do better, which is as fans, as attendees, as producers… we all just have to keep elevating our game or pick a lane that suits our needs.”
Looking back, for a minute, at all he’s achieved, Sam exudes humility and a feeling of deep gratitude. “It still feels new, in a funny way. There’s a lot of emotional history and internal history, but there’s new blood and there’s new projects. I feel grateful we still get to work with a lot of the OGs,” he says.
“You never really have it made, you’re always kind of like chiselling away. Obviously it gets easier to some degree, and your misses don’t hurt as much, but you’re still judged to the same standard as everyone else,” he concludes. “So you’re only as good as your last couple of things in some ways. I try to remind myself that and you don’t get too many Get Out of Jail Free cards. There’s only one way to win and that is to continue to be good.”
Marcus Barnes is an author, journalist, copywriter, and writing coach with over 20 years experience in print and online. Find him on Instagram.
Bogota-based techno talent and Beatport Next star Confidential Recipe is championing a new wave of explosive, raw, and uncompromising strains of underground dance music coming out of South America.
Hailing from the coastal city of Maracaibo in Venezuela, DJ/producer and member of the Beatport Next Class of 2023 Carlos Siu (aka Confidential Recipe) has been an avid student of South America’s underground club scene since the mid-2000s and has since developed into one of the continent’s most exciting dance music trailblazers. The artist’s growing clubland prowess recently brought him to Europe for his first-ever tour abroad, landing him new legions of fans and growing support from heavyweight DJs across the globe.
Originally DJing and producing under the moniker of DJ Cuyi (and later under the name Sr. Siu), Carlos eventually made the decision to leave his home of Maracaibo to escape the economic and political strife that descended on Venezuela back in 2018 and found himself set up in his new adopted city of Bogota, Columbia. It was here that he reinvented himself as an artist under his new alias, dreaming up a new concoction of dance floor elements with his analog gear in tow. Biting electro, hypnotic techno, mesmerizing minimal, driving house, audacious broken beats… if the electronic music scene was a spice rack, Carlos has pinched, mixed, and taste-tested dozens of styles and sounds over the years to cook up this finely-tuned Confidential Recipe. And if all these sonic ingredients have one thing in common, it is that they are deliciously and undeniably RAW.
Since the release of his debut album under his Confidential Recipe moniker, Passenger, Carlos has picked up releases on labels like Get Physical, Sous Music, EI8HT, Suara, his own Kontra Imprint, and most notably, the Rekids sub-label RSPX — an imprint that has since become his home with the legendary Radio Slave taking a special interest in the artist’s tough-as-nails productions.
On the heels of his latest RSPX release, an extended seven-tracker titled Rave Generator EP, we caught up with Carlos to learn more about his musical origins, Latin America’s evolving underground landscape, the road to reinventing his sound, his battle with cancer, his next moves, and more.
Hey Carlos! Thanks for joining us. How has the summer of 2023 been treating you?
Hey! Thanks for the invitation. This summer has been sweet. I spent all of June in Europe with the best weather and now I’m back in chilly Bogota working on the next moves.
Tell us a bit more about your musical origins. What was your earliest and most influential dance floor memory while growing up in Venezuela?
Everything started around 2006 when I started to attend to rave parties and such; my first contacts with the underground scene where acid, techno, and drum & bass parties in Maracaibo where I saw DJs like Chris Liberator, Dave The Drummer or DJ Marky playing banging stuff and that definitely left a mark on me.
When did you first dive into DJing and production? Who are some of the electronic acts that really helped stoke your passion for the rave?
I started DJing in 2008 playing techno and hard techno, called ‘schranz’ in that era – influenced by the music of artists like Frank Kvitta, Eric Sneo, Mark Broom, Ben Sims, and Chris Liebing, to name a few. I started to listen to house and techno in its purest forms around 2012 when the Detroit and Chicago sounds started to pop again in the scene in Maracaibo, and I started to produce music the same year.
When did you decide to move from Maracaibo to Bogota? How would you describe Columbia’s current clubland vibe and landscape?
I decided to move to Bogota in 2018 because my country was going through a serious economic and political crisis that basically pushed everyone I knew to emigrate.
Moving to Bogota was one of the toughest decisions in my life, but it was for sure the best one I have taken. The city and its people have welcomed me as one of their own, and Colombia’s scene is for sure one the fastest growing and most established in Latin America, welcoming underground and commercial international acts every weekend. It is also the home to many amazing local acts of every electronic genre.
You’ve performed under various monikers before landing on your Confidential Recipe alias. Can you talk us through your journey up until the release of your debut album, Passenger?
I started my music path with the harder sounds of techno; I exclusively played schranz for about six years with my first moniker, Dj Cuyi. I deeply cherish this time in my life because it gave me the chance to learn how to play professionally. I started touring all around Venezuela, met the most amazing people that now I can call my friends, and also gave me my first European tour.
In 2012, I started to open my mind to different styles, and I found Robert Hood’s Minimal Nation EP digging in the web, and that definitely meant a point of inflection in my music taste. I developed a love for House and Minimal music the same year listening to local legends from my city like DJ Pippo, Elektor, Ugly Nelzon, and Mickey Rat. That really opened my eyes to a lot of new feelings and also made me create my second moniker ‘Sr. Siu’, a project I used to play house, UK garage and bass music.
Later that year, I was getting Ableton lessons from Tommy Leb, a local reggae and ska producer, and personal hero of Maracaibo, and he taught me the ways around the daw and basic musical theory that really helped me to start.
My first attempts at making music were hard techno tracks, and not long after, I started to produce hypnotic techno as a duo called ‘Brodaz, also remembered as Consumer Data, with one of my all-time besties Julio, now known in the scene as Dagga.
With this project, we got ourselves our first-ever releases and started playing Live techno with analog gear in events in Maracaibo.
In 2017, the electronic music scene in Maracaibo completely died, and I started thinking about leaving the country for a better future.
I arrived in Bogota in 2018, and I found myself in the middle of this huge scene where I met so many amazing local and international acts that really motivated me to push myself even more.
In late 2019 I reinvented my vision and artist persona, creating a new project that wasn’t related to any genre and could let me express my love for electronic music in general. That was when Confidential Recipe was born.
CR started jamming in the studio making broken beats, electro, jackin’ house and techno. In 2020, I released my debut solo album, Passenger.
You’re a cancer survivor. Can you tell us more about your battle with this disease and how this experience affected your personal and artistic outlook on life?
I was diagnosed in 2020, during the pandemic, and it was a very scary and cathartic moment in my life. And I’m really grateful it was for a very short period. I was really lucky to be treated on time by very professional medical staff that, long story short, saved my life, and to have the support of my family and friends at this moment meant the world to me.
I’m sure my way of seeing life changed the moment I realized I was at risk of losing it, and the thought of life being limited made me understand that we only have one ride, and we have to be true to ourselves and our craft. I think you can find this better explained in my album Passenger, as it was finished at this time and is filled with ten tracks in different styles that I love and represent my passion for this.
How did you first get linked up with Radio Slave and his pivotal Rekids imprint?
Matt, Radio Slave, found my music through one friend in Berlin and he contacted me to release my first EP on Rekids techno sub-label RSPX, that later resulted on joining as an official artist of the label that has become the home of my music, i’m really grateful and proud of being part of such an amazing and mythical label and to work with Radio Slave, one of my favorite producers of all time, that has supported me and have given me the freedom to express myself in any style I love has been a total full circle moment.
When I create music, I am always thinking on the dance floor.
All the Rave Generator EP tracks have been my war weapons for over a year now and is also my tribute to the early rave days sound in my style.
It is also my most extended techno release till now, and you can find that CR style in every track of the EP, even though all tracks are different on their own.
I’m very happy about the feedback I got from the crowd in the last months with this EP and I really appreciate the feedback and support I have gotten from many influential artists I follow and from the crowds all over the world now that it is released.
How does being a part of the Beatport Next Class of 2023 feel?
It feels great to be supported and given a light from such an outstanding brand from the industry, and I will always be grateful for this opportunity.
What else can we expect to hear and see from Confidential Recipe later this year?
I have a couple of really exciting remixes coming before the year ends for some artists I look up to, and I’m also dropping a new EP very soon.
I’m preparing new cuts and myself for my next European tour in November/December 2023, so stay tuned because the first confirmed dates for the tour are simply epic!
Titled ‘Rising Above the Noise,’ the discussion covered all things music promotion, branding and strategy. With key highlights on how to systematically market a promotional campaign and the host of options that are now available today, the session offered professional insights for artists both new and established.
For the full take, listen to the panel discussion below.
Decoding The Music Industry: Rising Above the Noise
“Research bases the foundation of every marketing plan and every marketing strategy […] If you’re an artist that really wants to refine your brand, and you really want to understand a little bit more about how to visually represent yourself, the content you want to put out, it all starts with research.” – Lynda Phoenix
The panel unanimously agreed that research is a vital first step before creating a marketing strategy for an artist. The suggestions given included evaluating one’s own content output, looking to peers in the space for guidance and inspiration, and knowing exactly how and where you want to position yourself.
Phoenix also pointed out that often we can learn a lot from observing our own consumption behaviors – “if you actually really observe yourself as a consumer, that’s the best kind of research that you can do, because you’re actually putting yourself as your target market and sort of reversing what you’re doing.”
“It’s important to align yourself with brands and platforms that resonate with your persona and the character you’re trying to build within music. But also be selective with what you’re doing.” – Aly McHugh
In parallel with a self-audit – artists should understand which platforms they resonate the most with and tailor their content to each individual channel to get the best results. With an array of social media platforms and digital content types now available, McHugh’s point challenges artists and producers to understand which platforms they are best suited to and be specific with who they want to affiliate with.
Ahmed, a specialist in UK radio, relayed the importance of patience and well-thought strategy – highlighting the fact that successful breakthroughs come as a result of cumulative and progressive execution. All panelists were in agreement that short term goals should still be framed within a long-term strategy.
Referring anecdotally to his success with Scottish duo LF System, he outlined how their no.1 hit ‘Afraid to Feel’ reached double Platinum in the UK – the result of over two years of positioning and strategic placements. McHugh echoed this succinctly, saying: “Press isn’t overnight, it takes some time to grow.”
In terms of strategy and tactics, the panelists all discussed how fluid and fast-moving the cultural landscape is. Due to this, there is the need for artists and producers to continuously test, adapt, and not be afraid to try new things. As Phoenix explains, “there’s not one template, not one magical list that I can give that will work forever. What’s working now might not work in a couple of months’ time.”
Although the process might seem daunting, it can inspire new ways of being creative and help dial in your audience. The better you know yourself and the landscape, the better you can have an impact and share your work with more people – but the key thing is taking action.
It became apparent over the course of the discussion that one critical task for the artist or project, is to find a balance between individuality and trends. Trends will indicate the current sentiment and behavior of audiences across different platforms, which can give one an advantage when deploying content. However, individuality is equally important in maintaining personal alignment and developing a unique voice, which will allow you to cut through the noise.
The evening was rounded off with an uplifting DJ set from Paris Cesvette.
Beloved DJ, producer, vocalist, and BBC Radio 1 presenter Sarah Story regales us with some of her top dance floor selects of the Summer for Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
My name is Sarah Story, and I host Future Dance on BBC Radio 1 every Friday night. I’m also a touring DJ, vocalist and producer. This playlist has been inspired by the records I’ve been playing in my DJ sets and on my radio show all summer. I wanted to give you an insight into some of the exciting artists I’ve been supporting like Matisa and Matrefakt. There’s also some key tracks in there that I feel really make dance floor moments in my sets like Dance System’s “Shutter Trak,” Wallace’s “Breaking Up” and William Kiss’s “Like This.” I hope you enjoy these records as much as I do!
Sarah Story will be performing at MiNT Festival in Leeds, UK, on Saturday, September 16th. Purchase tickets here.
This dropped in July and is part of a 4 track EP called Tongue out on Peggy Gou’s label Gudu Records. It’s a really quirky, hypnotic roller which I’ve really enjoyed playing out in the clubs & on my radio show. Matisa is playing everywhere from Circoloco to Emerge festival and has released on Optimo Music & Steel City Dance Discs. Definitely one to watch!
Demi Requisimo – Talk To Frank [Life and Death]
Laidback sexy acidddd! The vocal really cuts through, a nod to deep house. I’m a big fan of Demi’s sound. It’s really classy and have been loving his latest releases from his own records to the music he’s released on his label Semi Delicious, a label you need to check out! For me, this is a perfect warm-up record, and I played it when I opened Room 2 at Fabric recently.
Matrefakt – Summer Breeze [Attitudes To Life]
I’ve been obsessed with these two since we met in their studio back in 2019. If you haven’t heard of Matrefakt then do some digging on Beatport; you will thank me later. This duo is so consistent with every release, making really classy house and techno. I always get asked what the Track ID is when I play this record out. Everything they make is driving, punchy, really melodic with a groove. Getting massive support from Anja Schneider & Peggy Gou, these two are the next big thing to come out of Liverpool!
LP Giobbi – Giodisco [Defected]
I co-produced this record with LP back in summer 2022. It was so much fun to make as you can tell from our vocal on the record! Really punchy with a mixture of disco & house. It always works on the dance floor and had been getting support from DJs like TSHA.
BDK – All I Want [Say Namm]
This is a great disco edit with a powerful vocal. Really joyful, rolling disco track that always works at the start of a set. I discovered BDK through Chloe Caillet when she did a Peak Time Mix for my show and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Sally C – All Love [Big Saldo’s Chunkers]
Everything Sally makes has a real authentic old-school house sound. Fast-paced, chunky basslines and always groovy. I really enjoy playing out her records out as they hold the energy of the crowd.
Dance System – Shutter Track [System Records]
This is quite a dark, mysterious record that’s full of builds and quirky moments. I instantly loved this record and played it loads on my show. Dance System told me this was inspired by the shutters in Panorama Bar when the shutters are opened and closed and the daylight floods the dancefloor. I feel like he’s summed up that moment perfectly.
Van Damn – Can’t Grumble [Utopia Worldwide]
A super classy, lush blend of house, UK garage and breakbeats. This reminds me of something that Henrik Schwarz would maybe play a few years ago. Out on Jaguar’s label Utopia, I remember Jag playing this at a gig in Glasgow and instantly needing to know the Track ID. Hailing from Scotland, Van Damn is on the rise with some brilliant releases like Preach It & We Can, 2 records you will want in your collection!
William Kiss – Like This [Bush Records]
Hard-hitting, groovy techno! It’s such a sassy record that I play nearly every set. The vocal, claps and stabs gives it an old-school feel, and when the kick comes in, it instantly grabs the crowd’s attention. When I first heard it, I was convinced it was an old record, but it only came out in November 2022. This is a weapon you need in your sets!
With Beatport Insider, we dig into key stats from the Beatport store’s top-performing releases that came out over the last six months. This time, we look at the artists and labels that dominated our House and Tech House sales and streaming charts.
Marking her first original release in two years and her debut on the mighty XL Recordings, South Korean superstar Peggy Gou takes home the prize for creating the best-selling house music tune on our site this year with the dance floor anthem, “(It Goes Like) Nanana.” The collaborative, Q-Tip-sampling track from Dom Dolla and MK, titled “Rhyme Dust,” comes in as a close second, and the Aussie party starter, Fisher, hones in on third with “Take It Off.”
Mark Knight’s mighty Toolroom remains on top as Beatport’s number one house and tech house label, but with stiff competition in the mix that sees Insomniac Records following close behind at number two and Defected hot on their heels at number three.
In addition to scoring the second best-selling track between the two genres, Dom Dolla and MK take the top spots (respectively) as house and tech house’s best-selling artists. Off her single track, Peggy Gou comes in at number three and is followed by Riva Starr (fourth), Westend (fifth), and Chris Lake (sixth).
Check out more key Beatport stats from our House and Tech House section below.
***These statistics are based on top-performing releases that were published on the Beatport store between March 2023 – August 2023.
Top 10 Best-Selling House & Tech House Tracks
Check out our Beatport Chart of the Top 10 Best-Selling House / Tech House tracks here.
Top 10 Most-Streamed House & Tech House Tracks
**Marlon Sadler & Sam Supplier’s “Better Off Alone” – coming in at #3 – is not available for streaming in North American territories.
Check out our Beatport Chart featuring The 10 Most-Streamed House / Tech House tracks here.
Beatport’s curation and label experts will host a live webinar session on September 14th, 2023, — delivering invaluable advice on how to promote and sell your music on Beatport.
Calling all label owners and artists! You are invited to a special free webinar to help you understandhow to promote your music on Beatport.
During this exciting session, we will guide you through the various opportunities to help increase your release visibility and clarify what the curation team looks for when selecting features on Beatport.
From this webinar, you will walk away with the following information:
1. How to get your music onto Beatport
2. Understand the pitch-to-curation process
3. How to get visibility on Beatport
4. Refining your label’s brand identity
Save the date on September 14th, 2023, at 5:00 pm BST, 6:00 pm CEST, 9:00 am PT, and be part of this informative event!
This live webinar is hosted by Raphael Pujol (Vice President of Curation) and Marina Palacios (Head of the Label Relations Team, UK), who will be available to answer questions on the day from labels attending.
The panel illuminated a range of topics – from ways to navigate the release and publishing of your own music, to the importance of being business savvy and understanding what it takes to be a truly independent artist.
Listen below to the panel discussion below.
The Shifting Landscape of Releasing Music
“I think a few years ago, people thought of self releasing platforms as an option when you’ve tried everything else. Whereas now it’s been proven with so many artists that actually you can make it a long term success for yourself, by putting the right teams, the right knowledge, around you. So it’s not just a short term option.” – Sarah Wilson
With the advent of the internet and social media the music industry has transformed considerably, challenging legacy institutions and creating more opportunities for artists across the spectrum.
In that time, a number of innovative companies have come to market offering more transparent and flexible services for artists. Services such as TuneCore and EMPIRE offer a suite of options for artists at every stage of their career. Their success lies in an adaptive strategy that can cater to almost any kind of deal – whether it’s just digital distribution for small early-stage artists, or a more complex 360 service – including everything from marketing, publishing, and sync, to merchandising, business development and more – for global top tier artists.
Such a business model also enables artists to curate their own teams and manage each component as they see fit, whether it is a case of delegating everything or being more hands-on in the day-to-day running of things.
There was a clear emphasis on understanding the artist as a business, if they are to be commercially successful. In order to make that happen, the artist requires a solid team behind them. According to Moore, “You really need a good team who can take you on that journey, and understand how to actually build a business from zero.” He went on to say that this is especially important if you’re trying to stay independent for as long as possible.
Similarly, Wilson explained that “if you’ve got the people that have got your back and you want to keep them, it’s a great way of using a [distribution] service, keeping that team around you that you trust.” The added benefit of working in this way means you have complete control and transparency over each element of your process – from the business side to the creative.
As a seasoned artist, Kitty Amor provided valuable insights for those earlier in the journey. Taking the time to know the landscape can set you up for long term success:
“I can say that I’ve done myself a service by pumping the brakes a little bit, understand and watch what’s happening before my time, so that I’m going in, in a way that’s more authentic to myself.” – Kitty Amor
She attributed a big part of her success to being fully engaged in the process and doing the diligent work that was necessary – whether it is networking, funding your own trips and research, or understanding who you are as an artist and what you want. She also expressed the importance of sitting down with the numbers, understanding the goals of the label or distribution company you’re working with, and being dialled in to the process and the teams involved – referring positively to her working relationship with Defected. Moore also emphasized this point for emerging artists:
“I think preaching good business for artists and for the teams early on is so key to having a long career where people want to actually be involved.” – Titus Moore
The key theme that emerged from the panelists was understanding the relationship between business and art, and ensuring you have ownership of both. Rather than rejecting one or the other, the two must be harmonized in order for an artist to achieve financial and creative success. As Kitty Amor admits: “It does take a lot of time, but at the same time, it’s your investment into your own business – because that’s what it is at the end of the day.”
The closing points highlighted the challenges of surviving in a fast moving world dominated by social media, tech and algorithms. With so much expectancy artists can easily get caught up in the machine, taking on extra pressure and anxiety that can start to negatively impact creativity. Sound advice from the panelists affirmed the need to stay authentic, to continue to tell your story even during quieter periods, to pivot where necessary, and maybe even take a contrarian position to stand out from the masses.
Join us on Thursday 24th August for our final installment ‘Rising Above the Noise’, with Lynda Phoenix, Jay Ahmed, and Aly McHugh, hosted by Emilie Birks and a DJ set from Paris Cesvette.
Beatport pays respect to a label that is rapidly becoming one of the drum & bass scene’s biggest and most essential brands, Invicta Audio.
Hailing from Bristol, the rate at which the record label and events company Invicta Audio has embedded itself in the hearts, minds, and eardrums of the global drum & bass scene is simply astonishing. Established in 2020 amid the depths of lockdown by its founder Anton Bailey, this award-winning D&B brand has cemented itself as a trailblazer in giving rise to the genre’s new wave of talented DJs and producers. Some artists they have signed to their label include Anais, Formula, Harley D, Jam Thieves, Magenta, Latte, Burt Cope, Phibes, and many more emerging acts that are making a name for themselves with Invicta Audio’s dedicated assistance.
The unique and wholly memorable showcases the label hosts have landed at some of the UK’s biggest stages, including Printworks, Warehouse Project, Motion, Boomtown, and Rampage Open Air. The label also walked away with the accolade of ‘Best Newcomer Label’ at the 2022 Drum&BassArena Awards.
We caught up with Invicta Audio founder Anton Bailey to learn a little bit more about the imprint’s origins, its high-caliber drum & bass attitude, and some of the label’s most essential tracks. See below.
The UK’s breakout melodic techno star, Massano, celebrates the arrival of his freshly-minted Simulate Recordings imprint with some high-voltage selects for Beatport’s Playlist of the Week.
I am Massano, an electronic music producer and DJ from Liverpool. The genre that my music currently fits into is melodic techno, but through my own music and my label, Simulate Recordings, I would say the words that best describe my sound are aggressive and energetic. Something I love to do with my music is combine contrasting moments in tracks, to keep things unpredictable and always have that element of surprise for the listener. For example, I love transitions between moments of emotion and raw aggression to catch people off guard, both in my individual productions and my DJ sets. This playlist captures that, with plenty of high-energy tracks that get people engaged to create special moments, emotional breaks bringing people together, and interesting rhythms keeping everyone moving on the dancefloor.
The idea behind Simulate is to present futuristic sounds that link the ever-evolving digital world to our physical existence. The label explores the possibility that life could be a simulation, whilst imagining what the future of that simulated existence could look and sound like. I aim to bring together a new forward-thinking family of artists whose futuristic sounds completely emphasize what the label is all about. Today’s playlist features a range of these artists, including a selection of our vision-announcing compilation, The Infrastructure 1.0.
I aimed to structure the playlist somewhat in a way that I would structure a DJ set, starting off a little deeper and groovier, before moving up towards an explosion of energy and pushing the tempo higher and finishing on something big…
I love how this track creates a great starting point to build things up in a set, it’s deep and groovy but still has that moment to get people excited for the start of a set. I’ll often use this one on the dancefloor when I want to start things a bit deeper and build things up slowly, perfect for longer sets.
Un:said – Escalate [Simulate]
But because this is only a 12-track playlist, I thought we’d go straight into something a bit more energetic. An amazing track from a hugely talented friend of mine Un:said. I love his unique sound design and structuring of tracks, they are always so creative but functional for use on any stage.
Massano – Nodosuba [Simulate]
A different style track for me, which is what made it perfect for the debut Simulate VA, The Infrastructure 1.0, to show people a different side to my productions. This track was originally intended as just a DJ tool, something where the energy never really drops, so it keeps people moving from start to finish, but yet still has lots of energy and a powerful drop. After testing it on the dancefloor many times, I knew I had to find a way to release this one and show I can create tracks not just for the peak time moment.
19:26 – Luminescence [Radikon]
Another insanely talented producer, 19:26 seems to come back every month with more and more bombs with catchy hooks and perfectly matched synths. This track is no exception to that.
Massano – The Blaze [Simulate]
Another track I was testing for months and months, I can rarely resist the urge to play this one. This track was originally called “Forrest,” but someone on YouTube randomly uploaded it as “The Blaze,” then more and more people were asking me, “when is ‘The Blaze’ coming out” until it got out of hand, and I had no choice but to call it “The Blaze” (LOL). But on a serious note, “The Blaze” is possibly a more appropriate title for this one for its raw aggression and powerful drops.
Pacs – Tansient [Simulate]
Such a well-constructed, energetic track from my Brazilian friend Pacs. So simple yet so powerful and effective, this track sounds so clean and always gets people going on the dancefloor! For sure one of my favorites from The Infrastructure 1.0 and a real statement from Pacs showing that he is one to watch for the future, and a key member of the Simulate family.
Massano – Shapeshifter [Upperground]
This a track from my first release on Artbat’s UPPERGROUND label, this one I love for how different the two drops are. Both really high energy but unique in their own ways. Another thing I love in this track is some of the random sound recordings I included in it from the real world. Listen out for some SFX made using voice notes from friends and a football crowd cheer!
Artche – Adrenaline [Simulate]
A track I first played in the club room of Hi Ibiza last year, I feel this track is perfect for that room, something a bit darker and leaning towards more of a techno style. With its powerful kick, driving bassline, and raw synths, I love the simplicity of this track and its ability to transition things a little darker.
Massano – Breathe [Upperground]
The other track from my Upperground EP, this track is one of the faster tracks I have produced in recent times, but this one really captures what I mentioned about contrasting moments of emotion and aggression. The breakdown arpeggiator and pads stops things, makes people take notice and brings through an epic moment of euphoria. This is then followed by a swift transition into metallic, powerful sounds that create a more heavy and impactful drop.
KAS:ST – 2084 [Flyance Records]
KAS:ST need no introduction. Year after year, they prove their insane creativity and ability to merge the techno & melodic techno genres. I love how different their vocals are from what everyone else is using, along with their hypnotic soundscapes and dark acid melodies.
Disfreq – Batida [Truesoul]
Something a bit different I always use to lift the tempo and create a more ravey moment on the dancefloor. The power in this track’s drums, vocal and acid synth line always helps to push the energy of a room that little bit further, just when people might be starting to feel tired, I use this one to lift them back up.
Depeche Mode – Ghosts Again (Massano Remix) [Columbia]
A track I am incredibly proud of, not only for the amazing opportunity to work with some absolute legends of the scene in Depeche Mode but for how the track turned out. This one took a lot of work to get it how I wanted it, but the finished result is something that always sends people crazy on the dancefloor. I love how the track combines so many different stages to keep things constantly evolving.