The ninth installment of mau5trap’s annual we are friends compilation hits the streets Dec. 13, giving fans of the label’s production-heavy sound a smattering of 23 tracks to spin this holiday season.
First and foremost on the release (both figuratively and literally) is a refreshing new take from the deadmau5 himself in “ASEED,” a tune that starts somber and evolves into a symphony of acid synths and broken beats. The man behind the mask has been dropping the track for the better part of two years, making “ASEED” one of those elusive IDs that diehards have fawned over for years.
We are friends vol. 9 goes on to feature some of mau5trap’s finest homegrown and up-and-coming talent, next highlighting the whimsy-filled soundscape of ASHE with the sputtering melody of “Human.” One area that mau5trap has been highly successful in over the years is in defining its own sound as a label. WAF 9 drives this point home, with tracks like “Magmagat” by Egomorph, which acts as the eccentric cousin to deadmau5’s 2009er “FML,” sharing strands of pulsating bass DNA with the iconic song from the label boss’ For Lack of a Better Name.
Additional highlights on the release include Corvad’s bass-forward and careening “I Am Control,” with a vocal sample reminiscent of Adam Freeland’s “We Want Your Soul” and “Wanted,” a deep-electro collaboration between the ever-rising C.H.A.Y. and Monstergetdown.
We are friendsvol. 9 is available now for both stream and purchase.
Take a psychedelic trip with ATTLAS on his video for his latest single, “Sinner Complicated.” The track’s visuals feature a plethora of kaleidoscopic images, each fluidly morphing and shifting along with the audio. Thomas Moore’s visuals are a strong compliment to ATTLAS’ future house production, vacillating between active and atmospheric instrumentals. Moore, AKA Cyclo, wrote the following regarding his work:
“After listening to this track for the first time, I knew I wanted to create a journey through a surreal landscape—one that started out as something very familiar. But as the track progresses, the journey evolves into the unknown. I have always been inspired by the music ATTLAS makes and the experience it delivers, so I wanted the visuals to match that.”
“Sinner Complicated” precedes ATTLAS’ debut album via mau5trap, Lavender God, due out in 2020. ATTLAS was recently named one of Dancing Astronaut’s artists to watch in 2020, and his latest track should certainly have fans anxiously waiting for his 2020 release. ATTLAS described the production on “Sinner Complicated” in a press release:
“‘Sinner Complicated’ is a textured and atmospheric roller that progresses with narrative intention from the beginning. It’s a good first introduction to the album as well – the melodies through both the track and album are much more a result of live performance, and the arrangements let their energies ebb and flow with an almost restless spirit. Freedom and the grand mystery are the themes that drove me throughout the process.”
While deadmau5 is most widely known and appreciated for his legendary progressive sounds in hits like “Strobe” and “Ghosts N Stuff,” it’s no secret that the producer possesses a strong command of other genres. His techno-leaning side project testpilot is evidence of this. Therefore, while his new single does not “FALL” completely in line with the styles of his historical discography, one cannot be surprised that it is still of the highest of quality, and is sure to excite his dedicated fanbase.
“FALL,” released via the mau5’s own mau5trap label, is a seven minute journey through the grittier side of electronica. Overflowing with afterhours energy, it’s en route to becoming the producer’s next anthem as he rinses it through his upcoming tour date. “FALL” is a fitting sequel to deadmau5’s recent originals “SATRN” and “COASTED,” and it will be interesting to see what the mastermind has lined up next. Catch him on his remaining Cube v3 tour dates here.
After kicking off 2019 in style with the release of his new album, High Street Creeps on mau5trap, Feed Me is now closing out the year with another new high-energy electro production entitled ‘Nothing Hurts Like You’ (feat. Sam Calver).
Jon Gooch, better known as Feed Me, has always been known for his diversity and lack of restriction when it comes to making music. Those familiar with Feed Me have heard his use of numerous tempos and styles and that is just one of his projects after all. He also dons the title Spor when he produces jungle-leaning material and even had a brief melodic stint under the name Unicron.
Of late, however, Gooch has kept it in the realm of house, and ‘Nothing Hurts Like You’ continues this trend. Being released on Spinnin’ this track flaunts a more pop-infused aesthetic than many would expect from Gooch, but his undeniable talent and taste see him pull it off with precision and grace.
Midoca has released an emotional five track EP drenched in reverb and gritty ambiance, Dry The Rose, through deadmau5‘s mau5trap imprint. With a haunting vocal tones and themes of struggling through modern relationships, the project proves a vulnerable sharing from the LA artist. The intro sets the tone without lyrics, presenting a melodically beautiful set with a radio static ambiance that creates a unique atmosphere for the emotive singer/songwriter. There’s a side of slow emo rock that protrudes throughout the vocal melodies, telling stories of of heartache, love, and self-realization through heart-beating percussion.
Earlier this year, the producer released his Beautiful Story, Ugly Life EP that touched on his capacity for love after being raised by an addict. After years in therapy, this new project represents the next chapter in previous thoughts he might have had about himself .
After a huge year of bringing hard-hitting techno sounds to a wider audience, i_o—real name Garret Lockhart—is closing out 2019 in fine style. He just released ACID 444, a four-tracker which will serve as the first part of his upcoming three-part album series entitled 444.
As the title suggests, all four of the tracks harbor the unmistakable wonky sound of the 303 that carved out an entire genre. Being a mau5trap release though, the symphonic influences of deadmau5 and i_o’s mix of throbbing and groovy sounds all fit together like a dance music jigsaw puzzle.
Details surrounding the other two parts of i_o’s three-part album have yet to surface but given his reputation for ambition and innovation, the smart money says to expect more trendsetting four-on-the-floor beats.
The cat’s out of the bag: mau5trap’s new day of the deadmau5 mix is here to slay.
Mixed by deadmau5 himself, the hour-long Halloween treat highlights some of the talent that’s fleshed out mau5trap’s menacing bass-forward sound over the past 16 months. Let’s be honest though—it wouldn’t be a deadmau5 Halloween mix without “Ghosts N’ Stuff,” but day of deadmau5 is largely a coming-out party for some of the label’s upcoming acts. The result is a mix that covers the majority of the current dance music spectrum, diving headfirst into the mosh pit with tracks from Callie Reiff and Getter, while sprinkling a bit of techno dust onto the mix with a handful of tracks from i_o, who is proving to be less a flavor of the week and more a flavor of the year with his constant stream of techno-infused heat.
day of the deadmau5 mix is now available now through Apple Music, for those daring to get their spook on.
MSTRKRFT have released a four-track extended play, Sunshine Of My Life, through deadmau5’s mau5trap. The raw techno emerging from the Canadian duo features an electrifying kick with roaring bass underneath and vocal fodder just melodic enough to let the modular synth and percussion elements ride.
The entire project hits hard, from the punching kicks on “Oh Yea, to the piercing synth on “Ear,” to the dynamic sounds on “Let Me See You Move,” and the various sound play on “Fit N Finish.”
“Let Me See You Move” was released as a single before the project. Known for their remix of Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” the aggressive, electro-heavy group continues to show they are not afraid of a bit of abrasion. Sunshine Of My Life with a stamp of approval from a sound design and structure oriented maestro in deadmau5 is another notch on their worn and tattered belts.
MSTRKRFT’s debut album, The Looks, defined the Canadian duo as a funk-infused electro outfit with just a smattering of pop-dust, but one that allowed the former DFA 1979 members to gracefully shimmy their way into the 2006 indie-electronic scene. While their sound overlapped to a degree with other dance/rock acts of the era, like LCD Soundsystem, MSTRKRFT’s early preference towards the housier side of things, such as prominently featured drum sequencers and a honed ability to build a memorable track around stems or samples gave Jesse Keeler and Al-P a unique spot in the indie landscape. Further, tracks like “Easy Love” and the album’s title song, “The Looks” showed the promise of a group that could work a dance floor, but their semi-muted electro sounds limited MSTRKFT’s early work to a 10 p.m. sound, rather than something that would pump all night.
But with their roots dug in following the success of The Looks, MSTRKRFT’s sound showed instant growth towards a more peak-hour feel. In particular, the now legendary remix of Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.,” as well as a surprisingly ripping take on Kylie Minogue‘s “Wow” showed the group leaning in an aggressive, electro-heavy direction that wasn’t afraid of a little bit of abrasion. In 2009, MSTRKRFT took that very idea and just cranked it with the release of their second album Fist of God. Some found the release to be littered with unnecessary vocal tracks, but look past those to instrumentals like “1000 Cigarettes” or “Vuvuvu” and it’s easy to see a shift towards dominating club-ready productions.
Now, 10 years and a self-described album of “difficult listening” later, MSTRKRFT is fully submerged in the sub-centric pulsating sounds of 3 a.m. technofare. Their newest release, a single on mau5trap, represents members Keeler and Al-P feeling their oats in the latest chapter of their artistic journey. Gone are the spectrum filling, massive inspired synths of yesteryear, as they’ve been traded for a thicker kick and a whirring lead that, while gripping, represents a vast departure from the sound-palate that MSTRKRFT was once founded on. That’s not to say that “Let Me See You Move” isn’t clearly a MSTRKRFT beat, though, as the standout drum sequencing and sampling that’s been honed for the dance floor for years embed the track with the always evolving duo’s signature sonic stamp.
Catch MSTRKRFT in Los Angeles on Oct. 19 and on tour with deadmau5 on his Houston stop on Nov. 15 and the Washington D.C. stop on Nov. 30. Learn more here.
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
The electronic music spotlight grows on Eastern Europe as a new haven for sleek underground sounds. Gallya has found herself among the wave of house and techno greats rising out of the region, starting off on a strong note via Set About, a label which she started alongside fellow Bulgarian Metodi Hristov —who’d already become an icon at that time. It was clear from the get-go that she’s one to watch. A year later, she was nominated by Beatport for its ‘Top Tech House’ award. Her sound has continued to blossom since then, with Gallya turning in a darker, headier direction and a series of Eps on mau5trap backed heavily by label boss deadmau5. She’s also earned support from Sian and the Octopus camp, cementing her place in the techno realm. In the past year, her path to global stardom has really begun to unfold, where she’s traveled to places like Sri Lanka, Tokyo’s Sound Museum, Lebanon, and of course, the esteemed UK institution, Creamfields. Expect her base to continue growing at top speed through the next year.
Keen to hear what Gallya has learned through her deeper immersion into the global music space, we sat down with her ahead of her latest release on mau5trap—a remix of “Ira (ov)” from the acclaimed Where’s The Drop? The LP saw composer Grégory Reveret pair with deadmau5 to recompose a collection of classics into pieces fit for a symphony orchestra. She takes an industrial approach in this one, forging a grimy breaks track that lays on the bass. Her hometown influence can certainly be heard in this one. Gallya expounds further on her closer relationship with mau5trap, her ever-evolving sonic palette, running a label, and more for this edition of Techno Tuesday.
In passing we’ve read about former Soviet countries (Georgia being a big one) and their conservative policies presenting some difficulty when it comes to trying to grow dance music scenes in these places. Do these issues exist in Bulgaria, and as a result does the country have a huge underground scene that persists out of government sight?
The politics in Bulgaria make it very difficult for certain parts of the music scene here– the government really doesn’t really care about parties or nightlife culture. In the last two years, they banned outdoor parties after 10PM, which is hard because historically we’ve had amazing parties on the beach till 7AM. I don’t think that will last after this government is out, but it definitely makes it hard. With the indoor clubs there is less of an issue with the government–you can party until 10AM if you want as long as it’s outdoors. Because there aren’t as many regulations on the indoor clubs, the capital has a ton of different types of parties. You can find very underground stuff but also big ones on different venues and weekly events. It’s a nice balance, but it’s definitely not a huge scene.
Who are some other rising artists from Bulgaria that we should be paying mind to? Techno or beyond.
Through our label, Set About, we’re really able to shine a light on Bulgarian artists we believe in. Two examples of this are Peppou and Martin Stoilkov, two really talented techno artists who you should look out for.
Have you ever gone through moments of burnout or passion loss as a result of making music into a career? How did you/how do you reinvigorate your passion if so?
Yes it happens sometimes, but I get through these moments by reading motivational books or just going to a really good party. Sometimes burnout moments give you really good studio moments if you push through them, but sometimes it’s hard to tell when to keep up and when to just take a step back and take a break–every time is different. It is important in these moments to remember that it’ll pass and everything will be cool again. I try not to take it too personally and just know that it’s part of the process.
Now let’s talk more about Set About – what were the factors that led to you and Metodi Hristov deciding to create the label, in your own words? What makes you two a like-minded musical pairing?
Metodi and I have always had similar music taste and the same desire to do more than just release our own music. We had a similar understanding of the music industry, so starting label together just felt natural. It’s our shared brand and the way for us to express our taste and share music from other artists that we like.
Also we started the label hoping that as we continue to grow we can also release music from newer producers who aren’t well known yet. When we started making music, it was hard to get anyone to care about our music because we didn’t have a lot of followers. I hate that side of the industry, and want to make sure we’re just shining a light on good music. Every one deserves a chance to be seen.
The age of the internet has brought about a huge increase in artists creating their own labels. Do you think this has had an effect on the role of a label in general within the music industry into not so much a ‘gatekeeping’ platform, but more of a collective-type format that gives the owners full creative freedom and a place to support their friends and artists they like?
I think this ties into my answer for the previous question pretty well –yes I think it’s great that everyone has a chance because that way the labels releasing quality music are able to be seen. Also it makes the big labels work harder, not just to count on the bigger names they have on their rosters. The competition creates quality.
But I really only feel this way when talking about the way the internet impacts releases–it’s great that there are so many ways to discover music, but I think social media has made it really hard for artists to let the music speak for them. There are a lot of “artists” on social media who have huge followings but are relying on ghost producers and just posting nice pictures on IG. People who do it for the fame and the money take away from the ones who work hard to make it about the music.
You’ve expressed your love for techno many a time; as it’s such a broad term with so many different definitions and styles, what does ‘techno’ mean to you?
Nowadays the genres are so mixed, there are so many different subgenres and types of techno so I don’t think I can really define techno as a whole, musically. It’s funny because some people would say I’m techno but others would call it something completely different, it’s all about point of view.
But to me Techno is a lifestyle and a state of mind. Techno can be really varied but it’s mostly the darker side of the electronic music, which really resonates with me. It connects people in a very special way. Generally techno is about raving till the morning and dancing to harder beats.
Over the past couple years you’ve been working your way into the USA dance sphere; a tough land to crack into. How has that process been for you and what have you learned in general about successfully securing rights to work/perform in other countries, as well as growing your fan base abroad?
Yes! I have a pretty big fan base in the US but unfortunately this is the audience I haven’t been able to meet yet because of how difficult it is to get a visa. It’s literally the only place in the world I’ve had this problem with, so I find it hard to stay connected with the people there – there’s only so much you can do without being able to connect with people in a live setting. It’s something that we’re working on. Most places are actually pretty friendly for visas, it’s just thinking ahead and getting the proper paperwork done. The US is a little different; there’s a big risk of getting denied so it needs to happen at the right time. It’s definitely been an eye opening experience and a lesson in patience. We’re working on making it happen in 2020, so hopefully I will have the chance to party with my people based in US.
What are three quintessential Gallya tracks that embody your sound and why?
My style has definitely been changing a bit each time I create music, which I find is a normal part of the process, trying to evolve with each track. I think the tracks I just finished in the studio are going to be the most defining for my sound, which is really exciting. Since I can’t share those yet, my three favorite tracks I’ve released so far:
1.Gallya – Still On Earth (Original Mix)
2.Gallya – Elements (Original Mix)
3.Gallya – Machines (Original Mix)
What are some artistic milestones you hope to accomplish over the next few years?
Playing more festival sets and get my visa for the US so I can start touring there.
You just had a great performance at Creamfields. How was it playing that festival for the first time?
It was amazing, definitely the best experience I’ve had in my DJ career. The vibe on the festival was magical and really enjoyed performing on that stage. I closed out a huge stage and it was very interesting and exciting.
And finally to cap it off, everyone’s fave question: what’s next in the Gallya pipeline?
Next is this very special remix I did for deadmau5, I’m really happy to be giving you guys the first look. Also many more releases, collaborations and exciting things coming, but it’s still early to talk about some of it.