Two of the most revered champions of modern bass stylings, REZZ and Zeds Dead, have been tantalizing audiences with news of their fated intersection. “Into The Abyss,” has officially landed, after ample public previews on social media and test drives at highly coveted live destinations like Zeds Dead’s Aragon Ballroom double showing in Chicago this past December.
“Into The Abyss” imbues REZZ’s otherworldly interlude wind-ups, leading in to a fiendish, staticky Zeds Dead bass tumble with rhythmic complexity privy to both parties. The Canadian caravan of bass music’s brightest avant-garde won’t disappoint any fans with a proclivity for hard-hitting, free-form efforts. While the melodies may be sparse with this one, the serrated drops are surely not.
The track is out now via Zeds Dead’s own Deadbeats.
Zeds Dead and REZZ have announced their much-anticipated collaboration, “Into the Bliss,” will be released on Wednesday, February 19, less than one week after they teased the track’s release.
After REZZ joined her fellow Canadian producers in the studio last October, little was known about the track or its release. Footage of the song has made its way online, as REZZ unleashed the rumored collaboration on her Beyond the Senses Tour—with Zeds Dead doing the same on their recent Deadbeats mini-tour
“In the Bliss” is bound to be an explosive collaboration of styles as REZZ lends her hypotonic mid-tempo production to Zeds Dead’s signature heavy-hitting bass. Fans of both artists will have multiple chances this summer to hear the collaboration live, as Ever After Music Festival and Dancefestopia have tapped both to headline their 2020 events. REZZ has previously shared the stage with Zeds Dead on select Deadbeats shows.
Soon after DC asked his Canadian compatriot Hooks to paint a graffiti mural in his garage circa 2004, the Zeds Dead duo began. They bonded over their mutual love for hip-hop and the fact they were both in nascent stages of producing music. They didn’t think too hard about wanting to work together, crafting ’90s-inspired hip-hop beats under the name Mass Productions. They soon released their first collaborative album, Fresh Beets, in the summer of 2007.
Although the album was compositionally clean and well-produced, the project fell on relatively deaf ears, a similar fate to the ocean of instrumental hip-hop projects released. The unflappable creatives took a turn towards electronic music, launching their Pulp Fiction-inspired Zeds Dead moniker on the beguiling and renegade-friendly MySpace soundscape. In 2009, under their new name, they released their debut song, “Journey of a Lifetime,” and played their first live set at The Social in Toronto on June 11.
In the low-ceilinged basement of 751, a bar in Toronto that became Wrongbar in 2010, Zeds Dead began playing their storied Bassmentality shows alongside the Killabits that brought guests such as Skrillex, Borgore, and NERO before dubstep really began to skyrocket in the North American live music scene. Their first official 40-plus-date North American tour started in December 2010. They were among the invariable first in a Wild West of a US musical frontier before dubstep had really even begun to devour the dance music zeitgeist in the states.
This time period became a torrential turning point for the boys as the bass tandem now looks back on a decade of success.
“During the first few years there were so many turning points as our lives transitioned from bedroom producers to having some notoriety and a career. Nothing really compares to that because the difference between being completely unknown to having fans at all is so much more substantial than most things to follow. Everything was a huge deal back then, coming from Toronto even getting to play a show in New York felt like a huge accomplishment.“
Now, Zeds Dead has come off the heals of their fourth We Are Deadbeats collaboration album, a 14-track project with a standout cast of the labels’ confidantes, from rapper Omar LinX who jumped on the highly popular “Rude Boy” in 2011 and has been passing vocal assists to the duo since the beginning, to the mystery shrouded Deathpact on some faster tempo bass. Other new releases feature the Noisia-backed Holly on the “Astroid” assault and frequent collaborator DNMO on the GG Magree-assisted and increasingly popular “Save My Grave.” Loge21, Champagne Drip, and Slushii also joined the previously released tracks with Ganja White Night, Subtronics, Urbandawn, DROELOE, Jauz, Delta Heavy, and Dion Timmer rounding out the A&R’s heavy-hitting artillery and seemingly boundless landscape for upcoming Deadbeats shows.
“We wanted to do a project that showcased some of the artists on the label like we’ve been doing with the We Are Deadbeats series but also represent a lot of the styles you might hear at a Deadbeats show.”
Collaboration is in the ethos of the friends who have been making music together for nearly a decade and a half. The We Are Deadbeats compilation series and Deadbeats Radio mixes exist both for the community of creatives and fans bearing witness to the taste-making pallets of veterans in the hip-hop electronic crossover space. Zeds Dead passed along a curatorial baton of what projects to expect in the near future from not only them, but the Deadbeats machine, including the newly minted X&G MONSTA EP or Jaenga LINGUISTICS EP.
“Blunts & Blondes, Chee, Dion Timmer, Kid Froopy, Duke & Jones, Gentlemens Club, DNMO, SIPPY”
As with any electronic music entity, the live event is the centerpiece of the full-immersion entertainment experience and the Deadbeats shows are no exception, touring as a label with their infamous collaborative showcase. This is not including their seventh round at the prestigious Red Rocks Amphitheater, another notch to the duo’s laundry list of accomplishments.
“We’ve hit a good stride and are releasing a steady stream of music that we really love and the Deadbeats shows have been going great as well. I see it becoming more and more of a mini festival as it grows. Hopefully we can keep it growing and see how far we can take it.”
What equipped Zeds Dead with the ability to launch their own label is their nuanced, inimitable storm of a sound that stems from their concurrent loves of hip-hop and electronic music, which catapulted them as cosmically successfully touring DJs amassing an ardent and omnipresent community of fans. But what is their key to creativity and how do they typically collaborate?
“Experimentation is the best way to keep things interesting. Sometimes you might start with a melody on piano, sometimes a sound you’re messing with in a synth, vocals, drums. There’s no formula.Each song is different and can have more or less of one of us, but it can range from working on it together in the same room, to sending it back and forth or just sending notes.”
Just after releasing We Are Deadbeats Vol 4. the team already has their eyes set on another decisive benchmark: their second LP.
“Yes, we are working on finishing that but no idea when it will come out. It’s pretty close but these things always have a way of changing.”
Effin spent the better part of 2019 building out his catalog of menacing bass products. Now he’s setting 2020 off with a bang, connecting with Zeds Dead’s Deadbeats imprint for his first delivery of the year. And if you know anything about Effin yet—expect this one to rattle you to your core.
Dropping off a new original cut titled, “Uncomfortable,” the LA transplant put together a menacing bass weapon that bears all the increasingly identifiable hallmarks of Effin’s burgeoning sonic signature. Effin fans will instantly recognize “Uncomfortable” from the DJ’s live sets over the last handful of months, with the then-nameless setlist ignitor making its rounds across the festival circuit well before its official release.
Following another original, “Partial,” which landed via Never Say Die, Effin’s latest positions him with another fledging bass label as he continues his steep upward trajectory. Keep an ear on Effin in 2020—chances are you’ll hear him coming from a mile away.
Zeds Dead release their highly-anticipated 14-track collaboration album, We Are Deadbeats, with newly released tracks alongside Deathpact, Holly, DNMO, Loge21, Omar LinX, Champagne Drip, and Slushii. Previous releases from the Canadian dubstep luminaries from the project came on behalf of alignments with Ganja White Night, Subtronics, Urbandawn, DROELOE, Jauz, Delta Heavy, and Dion Timmer. With seven new songs from the kings of sustained, lush bass drops around a outside-the-box sound design, fans are treated to a grip of new cuts from the infamous bass tandem of the decade.
DC and Hooks are known for their inimitable sound in the bass space, playing A&R to some of the most highly touted up-and-coming acts in the genre, as well as bumping elbows with tried-and-true bass purveyors. The Deadbeats torchbearers also recently announced their seventh go-around of their now hallowed annual Dead Rocks display at the prestigious Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Zeds Dead and Ganja White Night finally release their highly anticipated collaboration, “Dead of Night,” from the Canadian bass figurehead’ We Are Deadbeats collaborative project set to drop on January 14. The track that has already been heating crowds for some times opens with an ominous, mysterious intro. Then, a buildup of industrial synths interrupts the haunting serenity and warps towards a swelling break of syncopated synths connected by wobbling growls and fills.
DC and Hooks have released three tracks from the upcoming label compilation so far, including a unique drum ‘n’ bass effort with Urbandawn and a hard-hitting bass sound design clinic with the increasingly visible Subtronics. The Deadbeats helmers also recently announced their seventh installment of Dead Rocks at the prestigious Red Rocks Amphitheater.
DC and Hooks are at it again with the second part of Zeds Decade mix from their Deadbeats SoundCloud shop. Zeds Dead formed in 2009, finding flagship touring success in EDM’s bass-burgeoning underbelly throughout the decade. They tout a deliciously strange taste in sounds with hefty sub frequencies, so to hear what these two princes of bass have to say about their favorite music from the decade is certainly an insightful treat.
The beginning of the mix is introduced as an ode to deadmau5 and Noisia, both huge influences for the Deadbeats label bosses in this decade, with the drum ‘n’ bass trendsetters’ heavy-hitting remix of the mau5trap label bosses’ “Raise Your Weapon.” Then the mix courses through an eclectic array of styles from Jamie XX to Tyler The Creator and Emalkay into Santigold into Taska Black into Branchez into NERO into “Griztronics” into Skrillex. This wide variety of decade favorites showcases the hip-hop crossed into melodic bass era from one of dubstep’s most prized possessions.
2010 may as well have been a lifetime ago. At the breakneck pace by which dance music throttles through the stratosphere, the decade is ending in an entirely unrecognizable place from where it began. For context—ten years ago, Electric Daisy Carnival was held in Los Angeles, not Las Vegas, where the Los Angeles Rams now play. Only 250,000 people were paying for a Swedish music streaming service called Spotify, and Billie Eilish was finishing up second grade. It’s been a wild ride through the 10’s, largely soundtracked by EDM’s global boom into a multi-billion dollar industry. Ten years ago our culture was creeping out of South London basements and New York warehouses, and now we’re performing at the Olympics.
So now, as the single most important, historic, and certainly memorable decade dance music has ever seen draws to a close, we had to figure out a new way to break down how far the culture has come. One master list couldn’t possibly reflect the decade in review. In effort to properly recognize the remarkable collection of events that has brought us here, we’re tweaking our typical end-of-the-year model. Instead, we’re dividing the decade’s most deserving into a handful of unique categories.
In review of 2010 – 2019, the most important factors that shaped the decade were Artists of the Decade, Labels of the Decade, Albums of the Decade, and Most Impactful Moments of the Decade. Together, they comprise Dancing Astronaut’s decade-end collection. Introducing, The Big 100.
25. Foreign Family Collective –
While ODESZA‘s Foreign Family Collective isn’t exactly a traditional record label, and likely the youngest inclusion on this list, the artist collective has proven to be one of the premier creative outlets for some of electronic music’s current brightest. The imprint has hosted releases from Jai Wolf, Louis Futon, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Robotaki, Kasbo, and more, coming together as an eclectic collection of sonic and visual media. ODESZA’s third full length LP, A Moment Apartofficially landed on the duo’s own Foreign Family Collective in 2017, and would net them two Grammy nominations in 2018. The Collective also managed to move into event curation by the end of the decade with the highly in-demand ODESZA-curated SUNDARA festival that sprang up in the summer of 2019.
24. Brainfeeder –
Another twisted creative brainchild of LA’s Flying Lotus, Brainfeeder has commanded its own corner of the experimental sector for more than a decade now. Over the course of the last ten years, the imprint has hosted releases from the likes of Mr. Oizo, TOKiMONSTA, Thundercat, and Kamasi Washington, Lotus’ rap alter-ego Captain Murphy, and more. The label has dexterously cemented itself as the authority on the outer fringes of hip-hop and electronic music. Brainfeeder regulars would go on to host one of Southern California’s most beloved running parties, Low End Theory, which saw LA’s beat scene rise to prominence over the course of Wednesday nights from 2006 to its final club night in 2018.
23. Ninja Tune –
Ninja Tune has been a pillar in dance music for much longer than just this past decade. In fact, in 2020, the label will celebrate 30 years in business, spanning a myriad of releases and artists from all corners of the musical macrocosm. From 2010 – 2019, Ninja Tune put on the likes of Peggy Gou, Tycho, Bonobo, Bicep, Machinedrum, Helena Hauff, ODESZA, and more. Even Kelis and Diplo have featured on the legendary label’s network of brands. Ninja Tune also managed to ink a deal with the aforementioned Brainfeeder, bringing releases from Flying Lotus, Thundercat, and others under the Ninja Tune banner during the ’10s.
22. Sweat It Out!
The “Australian Invasion” has been a remarkable high point of the past decade, and the late DJ Ajax’s Sweat It Out! remains at the helm of this movement. There’s nary a superstar from the country that hasn’t gotten their start on the label; Yolanda Be Cool, RÜFÜS DU SOL with their career-making Bloom, Emoh Instead (What So Not), Crooked Colours, and Dancing Astronaut’sBreakout Artist of the Year Dom Dolla serve as just a few. Be it house, electro pop, or future bass, one thing that remains a constant in Sweat It Out! is its penchant for finding artists that will enamor audiences worldwide with their raw musicianship—and that’s why the label can always be trusted as a hub for next generation elite. DJ Ajax’s untimely passing will forever be a dark moment on electronic music’s timeline, but thankfully his legacy shines permanently in Sweat It Out!.
21. Future Sound Of Egypt –
Once a part of the Armada family, Future Sound Of Egypt (FSOE) separated into its own force to be reckoned with in trance. Since regaining its independence in 2016, it’s swiftly grown to rival other known institutions like Black Hole and Anjunabeats. The label is so highly regarded, in fact, that Aly & Fila were granted permission to perform at the Great Pyramids twice in celebration of episodes 400 and 500 of their label’s eponymous radio show, joining a small group of other acts that includes Sting, Kylie Minogue, and Jean-Michel Jarre. In a time of intense evolution for trance in multiple sonic directions, FSOE has stayed true to its roots, consistently offering followers top-grade records in uplifting, tech, and progressive.
20. Night Bass –
Looking back on decades of dance music, few labels have been as integral in the invention of their own genre as Night Bass. Even more impressive about AC Slater’s second imprint is that it accomplished this feat in a very short amount of time. Founded halfway through the decade in 2014, around the time Trouble & Bass closed shop, Night Bass set off on a mission. It has since curated a nationwide community around bass house; a burgeoning soundscape that harkens to the early days of UK garage and two-step but presented in a four-on-the-floor fashion. Slater’s done a commendable job of not only curating a solid catalog of releases, but fostering a tightly knit community of like-minded house heads. – Harry Levin
19. Crosstown Rebels
If there is one word to describe Damian Lazarus’ profile as an artist, it’s humble. While you may never see him topping bills of international festivals or lending his name to the hottest singles of the year, his ability to curate releases through his legendary imprint, Crosstown Rebels, is unmatched. Even as dance music entered the mainstream this decade, Lazarus was able to sift through the hype and find some of the best tunes in the underground from the likes of Skream, Gorgon City, Denney, Joeski, and a nearly interminable list of both established talents and rising stars in house and techno. – Harry Levin
Solomun has cultivated Diynamic into one of the most hyped in the house and techno world—and for good reason. One can’t deny its role in propelling melodic shades of the aforementioned to greatness, especially when the label was one of the first to push the sound when minimal reigned supreme. What began as some friends going against the grain for their dreams blossomed into a full-blown movement, and today, thousands of loyal fans filling out Diynamic’s showcases, stage takeovers, and residencies all over the globe prove the impact it’s had in the dance community at large. Its streak is primed to continue well into the 2020s, as the past year alone has seen Diynamic breed new superstars in ARTBAT whilst continuing to top charts with singles like Maceo Plex’s “Mutant Magic,” an EP from Boys Noize’s ELAX alias, and more.
17. Deadbeats –
Zeds Dead emerged just as the decade kicked off, and by the end of the early ’10s DC and Hooks had firmly established themselves as face-melting bass gods. They spent the first half of the decade developing their signature sound to contort around a variety of electric genres, successfully wading from dub into house, hip-hop, R&B, future bass, and more. By early 2016, Zeds Dead were ready to do more than just produce and release their own music, forming the aptly named Deadbeats—a label which reflects the very ethos of Zeds Dead’s refusal to be pinned down by one single genre. In just four years, Deadbeats has stacked a booming catalog of nearly 300 releases including work from newcomers and industry vets alike. Now, Deadbeats roster boasts the likes of Rusko, GRiZ, EPROM, DEVAULT, Delta Heavy, Wuki, Habstrakt, Ducky, and more.
Look to Deadbeats to continue to be an accurate barometer for what’s hot as a new decade unfolds. A decade in, and Zeds Dead has traversed the electronic world twice, expect them to keep up the pace in 2020.
Though it’s just shy of five years old, CONFESSION has already proven to be one of the most impactful imprints of the 2010s. Tchami does an impeccable job imbuing his spiritually minded ethos into the brand on the visual and audio fronts, matching the label’s church-themed parties to otherworldly future house records that garner high praise across the world. Many high pedigree artists have signed records onto CONFESSION, with the highly anticipated REZZ and Malaa collaboration, “Criminals,” having just been released in autumn. Of course, this swift success hardly comes as a surprise to those familiar with Tchami’s keen ear and resonant vision.
15. Boysnoize Records (BNR)
Boys Noize is one of dance music’s foremost forward-thinkers, and his namesake label is a manifestation of the cutting edge, rule-bending aesthetic he’s become known for. Over the past decade alone, Boysnoize Records (BNR) and its BNR TRAX subsidiary have not only been hubs for groundbreaking releases by the label boss himself—such as the critically acclaimed Out Of The Black and 2016’s Mayday—but they’ve also been instrumental in launching the careers of Jensen Interceptor, Peaches, Raito, and beyond. The label’s really grown into its own through the years, and looks to a continued tenure providing dance music’s future innovations to the masses.
14. Spinnin’ Records
Spinnin’s legacy stretches back to the turn of the millennium, but the past decade has really seen it becoming a major force in shaping modern dance music. It’s widely responsible for introducing the world to, and popularizing, big room house, with perhaps its biggest claim to fame being the discovery of Martin Garrix and kicking off his journey to superstardom with “Animals.” Millions of followers, billions of streams amassed, a multi-million dollar merger with Warner, and over 20 noteworthy, artist-led sub-labels later (think Heldeep and Dharma Worldwide), Spinnin’ has permanently cemented itself as a pillar of EDM and one of the genre’s greatest patrons.
13. Ultra Music
Before Spinnin’ asserted its dominance in the EDM world, Ultra was its kingpin. It entered the 2010s on top, with iconic singles like “Stereo Love” and Skrillex’ remix to Benny Benassi’s “Cinema” raking in countless plays across all platforms. This streak has continued all through the decade, with the label playing host to multiple platinum records which have included Deorro’s 2016 collaborations with Elvis Crespo, “Bailar,” and “Five More Hours” with Chris Brown, in addition to SNBRN’s “Gangsta Walk,” “Just Hold On” with Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson, and Klingade’s “Somewhere New.” Label darling Kygo even booked an Olympic performance.
One of the earliest entities to realize the power of YouTube as a music platform is UKF, which became one of the first viral channels to flourish as an indie record label. It’s hard to believe the brand was created a mere 10 years ago, given its establishment as a prime hub for all things bass from the get-go. In fact, it’s safe to say that many of electronic music’s younger generation discovered the likes of Zeds Dead, Nero, and even Knife Party during UKF’s earliest days. Outside its reputation as a leading curatorial hub, Luke Hood’s brainchild is also behind upwards of three billion streams on YouTube alone, a sold-out show at the Alexandria Palace in London, and multiple groundbreaking compilations that have served as barometers of bass culture over the years. It’s truly a label of the future.
Flume might have been future bass’ first pioneer, but it’s Canadian titan Monstercat that took experimental bass, in all forms, to formerly unfathomable heights. Its founders Mike Darlington and Ari Paunonen can easily be considered some of the music industry’s most industrious entrepreneurs, slowly building Monstercat’s stock over the years through adopting Twitch streaming early and making their label’s name known on a grander scale via festival stage takeovers. By 2014 it’d already sold over a million records, but 2016 is when Monstercat struck gold with Marshmello’s breakout single “Alone.” This goes to show that grassroots passion mixed with a bit of business savvy pays off in the long run, and as a result, there’s no foreseeable end to the label’s reign over the bass world.
10. Big Beat
While most of our picks for Label of the Decade are smaller distributors, we’d be remiss if we left out the behemoth Big Beat from our rankings. A longtime stalwart in house, hip-hop, and now more modern strains of electronica, the Atlantic-housed imprint relaunched in 2010 with Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites—effectively locking it back into the upper echelon of dance music during its second commercial boom. Skrillex’s breakout EP, and even his widely frenzied Jack Ü project with Diplo are merely drops in Big Beat’s bucket, with the label also giving rise to the likes of Galantis, Ekali, Icona Pop, and many more in the years following its relaunch. While trends come and go with increasing speeds, Big Beat always manages to stay ahead of the game, and this attribute is precisely what will keep it thriving for many decades to come.
09. Fool’s Gold Records
With A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs at the helm, there is no way Fool’s Gold would ever or could ever fold into being just another dance music label, and, of course, it didn’t. Few imprints across this decade carved a distinct niche that combined electronic and rap while supporting an art form which has become criminally under-valued in today’s music scene: real DJing. Now, Fool’s Gold’s roster boasts releases from Kid Cudi, Anna Lunoe, Run The Jewels, Brenmar, Oliver, YehMe2, Sleepy Tom, and so many more. Beyond bringing new technically skilled DJs into the fold like KITTENS, Fool’s Gold is a primary sponsor of A-Trak’s Goldie Awards, an annual DJ competition and beat-battle judged by some of the best in the business including Diplo, Craze, and A-Trak himself. Furthermore, FGR has even dipped into fashion, events production, and more during the 2010s. – Harry Levin
08. Armada Music
Armada’s journey runs parallel to its founder Armin van Buuren’s rise to the top of the crossover world. It’d already become a top trance label by the aughts, but has silently exploded into one of the biggest imprints in electronic whose power rivals that of Ultra and Spinnin’. From 2011-2015, it took home the IDMA for “Best Global Dance Music Label,” additionally expanding its robust sub-label army to during this time while propping up van Buuren’s entrance into the pop world through his LPs Intense and Embrace. Today, its repertoire spans records from Detroit legend Kevin Saunderson to Dutch house master Afrojack, showcasing a label built to last and prosper through EDM’s cyclical history.
07. Future Classic –
The “Australian Invasion” of the last decade was one of the most enjoyable subplots in all of dance music. The talent that emanated from down under over the last ten years went on to be some of the most dominate forces in electronic music, positioning Future Classic as an incubator for Aussie hitmakers. Future Classic wasn’t new to the decade, though the label/management company’s story really took off in 2012 with the debut release from Harley Streten, better known as Flume. The rest, as they say, is history. Releases from Anna Lunoe, Touch Sensitive, Chrome Sparks, Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker), Classixx, Flight Facilities, Wave Racer, and others would follow, placing Future Classic among some of the greatest labels of the decade.
06. Ed Banger Records
Pedro Winter’s Ed Banger family built its reputation in the previous decade under the stewardship of Cassius and Justice, and those are the only two names that actually need to be mentioned even though there are plenty of others that could be. However, between 2010 and 2019, Busy P proved that he knew how to keep his record label relevant in the face of changing market with tasty treats from Breakbot, Mr, Oizo, Riton, and Boston Bun. Still, Ed Banger managed to bring home hardware over the course of the decade with Justice’s Grammy-winning Woman Worldwide. Ed Banger Records, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2018, was never a pure house or even a pure electro imprint, and by leaning into that spirit of exploration, they were able to continue to sign forward-thinking artists that forward-thinking dance fans were eager to discover. – Harry Levin
05. Mad Decent
It was in this decade that Diplo established himself as both the premier pop producer of our day as well as a paragon of superstar DJ culture—and his label, Mad Decent, was there every step of the way. Diplo entered the EDM explosion with a resumé and Rolodex matched by few and immediately established Mad Decent as an open-format trendsetter. Even before he entered his current house kick with his new imprint Higher Ground, Diplo landed modern four-on-the-floor classics like “Bugatti” and “Feel The Volume,” essentially launching JAUZ’s career. He put on early Dillon Francis and Baauer, with Valentino Khan, Party Favor, and so many more in between. Let us not forget one of the biggest hits in history, the light-hearted jam, “Lean On” which, on top of breaking numerous records, imbued practically every pop song to follow for the next two years with its bouncing dancehall beat. – Harry Levin
Skrillex is such a staple when discussing electronic music that it’s almost hard to believe that Sonny Moore started working under that name just this decade. Even harder to believe he only started OWSLA this decade, too. Though, at the end of the decade, looking back its clear OWSLA had a finger on the pulse of electronic music culture right from the jump.
This label turned lifestyle brand was launched with the breakout EP from an exciting 19-year-old named Porter Robinson entitled Spitfire. From there on the tone of the label was set to continue breaking boundaries and building new artists. Makes sense, considering the second release from a little known artist who goes by the name of ZEDD. From there, OWSLA went on to push records from every corner of electronic music, from Yogi, Alvin Risk,KOAN Sound, What So Not, Alex Metric, Getter, Vindata, Mija, Ekali, Kill The Noise, and more. – Harry Levin
03. Anjunabeats / Anjunadeep
Anjunabeats is a musical movement in itself. The trance label and its deeper, progressive-leaning counterpart Anjunadeep have carved a distinct sonic niche in their respective genre realms, with the latter being a prime motivator in the rise of melodic house as a dominating sect in electronica. Meanwhile, Anjunabeats remains a titan with impeccable curation in its founders Above & Beyond; Seven Lions was discovered and nurtured to the star he is today thanks to the imprint, as have other key players today like Lane 8, Ilan Bluestone, and Andrew Bayer. Not to mention, its fan base remains one of the most dedicated we’ve seen today.
deadmau5 has always commanded a large portion the electronic zeitgeist’s collective attention, and regardless of whatever anyone may think of him, he’s always diverted a large portion of that attention to his record label mau5trap. Looking back on this decade, it’s almost uncanny how many impressive artists came into their own mau5trap. Matt Lange, Eekkoo, ATTLAS, i_o, Rinzen, just to name a few. Many listeners might also be surprised to learn that mau5trap also hosted seminal releases from artists like Skrillex, Excision, Noisia, and Moguai. – Harry Levin
In the span of 2010 to 2019, no other label has done a better job of introducing house music to a wider audience than DIRTYBIRD. With a foundational crew of artists maintaining the brand’s core values through both its sound and jovial conduct, Claude VonStroke’s humble, homemade record imprint has amassed a consistent, reliable force of dancers around the globe. Not only have they curated some of the decade’s biggest hits like “Stop It” by Fisher and “OKAY” by Shiba San, but they continuously groom up-and-coming artists and set new weird and wacky trends as well. The label has successfully moved into events curation over the last decade, inspired by its humble beginnings, hosting beat-laden barbecues in the park. Now, with fledging Campout and BBQ events all over the country, a roster of top-notch artists that proctor some of the best house in the game, DIRTYBIRD Records is a shoe-in for our Top Label of the Decade. – Harry Levin
What a 2019 for the stellar bass standout PEEKABOO, as the Michigan producer rounds this decade with his Impossible EP, returning back to Zeds Dead’s Deadbeats for the release. The project coincides with the announcement of his debut headlining tour, The Impossible Tour, after supporting REZZ on her Beyond The Senses tour earlier this year. As one of Dancing Astronaut’s Ones to Watch in 2020, witness the rising star in action as he looks to hit the new decade with sounds and textures that were previously thought of as impossible.
With a degree in sound engineering for horror films, the menacing sound arranger isn’t afraid to take risks whether through squeaking high ends and sustained bass through trap percussion on “Nut Case” or applying his bass backings to a house track on “Rock The House.”
The Bassnectar-supported artist broke in 2018 after his viral track with G-Rex “Babatunde” became one of the most popular songs for producers to remix. His collaboration “Illusion” with Bassnectar also helped catapult the experimental sound explorer to onlooker’s radars.
PEEKABOO’s Impossible Tour is a 21-stop North American rendezvous set to kick off Jan. 31 in Denver, Colorado. Support on the tour features names like by Moody Good, Zeke Beats, ISOxo, and Truth on certain dates.
Zeds Dead collaborate with Urbandawn on an ear-tickling drum ‘n’ bass offering, “Sound Of The Underground.” Through a misty atmosphere, a glitchy march toward euphoric melodies picks up then lets go into a breakbeat forest with swampy texture. The drop unleashes a fury of drum ‘n’ bass percussion, with soft shakers mixed with a variety of guttural synths and crunching sound design that are responsible for bringing the Deadbeats label heads to their pedestal. A second drop brings a half-time element that shines shades of dubstep.
The Brazilian producer’s percussive prowess must have drawn the festival headliners attention, judging from a similarly unique drum ‘n’ bass take on a version of the Beatles’ “Come Together.”
Zeds Dead also confirmed a new We Are Deadbeats label compilation for 2020 with their highly anticipated Ganja White Night collaboration. Another collaboration with Subtronics is in the chamber as the Canadian duo look to continue rolling on through the new year.