“As you gain experience, it’s not about the technical side, the technical side needs to be automatic…As you evolve and gain experience, you learn it’s all about the crowd – and that’s what matters.”
Change. It’s a challenge most producers face. How do you evolve as an artist without abandoning the fan base that loves your sound? It’s a frightening proposition and one that EDM legend Nicky Romero documented in his 3-part documentary “Redefine.” The series focuses on the evolution of his sound throughout his prolific career as first a DJ, then a producer, and now a media mogul.
The first episode recounts his past. Nicky walks us through his humble beginnings as a DJ and his introduction to electronic music production. From handing out water backstage at local clubs to be closer to the DJs to attending mini-festivals to gain inspiration from fellow up-and-coming artists of the time. It also serves as a high-level technical lesson on the details and challenges of music production from one of the best in the business.
It’s way more than a laundry list of accomplishments – it spreads an authentic and positive message to viewers that now is the time to begin creating whatever it is they want in life, to always “Redefine” themselves and to share their Redefine Statements with others on the website nickyromero.com.
Nicky also just debuted the touching, feel-good music video to his “Love You Forever” with Stadiumx and Sam Martin, which centers on three different stories with the common thread of how small acts of kindness can truly change a life.
Another absolute earworm from Spinnin, this time courtesy of Netherlands’ own BODÉ. The culmination of years behind the scenes and in the studio, “Good Enough” is the follow up to his Top 40 chart topping release alongside Tanya Lacey “Missing.” For his next trick, BODÉ and Tailor craft a bouncy blend of electro and deep house with the same pristine production finesse as you’d come to expect out of Spinnin Records. Richly textured with a killer bassline and a hook that you can’t shake off, “Good Enough” is much more than what its name suggests.
It isn’t exactly classified information that Alesso fans have been yearning for a return to the producer’s progressive roots for some time. Earlier this year, Alesso unveiled the introductory installment of his ProgressoEP series in addition to a self-remix (alongside Deniz Koyu) of one of those singles that assuredly exhibited an influence from early on in Alesso’s career. To broaden that streak into mid-summer, Alesso is adjusting the sound on another release of his own with an adaptation of his pop collaboration with TINI, “Sad Song.”
Incrementally shifting the original’s tempo to a more club-appropriate pace, Alesso implements a delicate house instrumental before fuly transitioning towards what fans have been craving. A reflective progressive drop adds an overhauled and much-desired festival sentiment to Alesso’s radio-ready “Sad Song” as he effortlessly satiates multiple genre tastes in doubling down on his latest single.
If a track bears Dillon Francis‘s ubiquitous emblem, listeners can expect a record that’s a little bit bombastic, packed with a whole lot of flavor. For his latest Mad Decent development, Francis signed on with equally fervid producer, Boombox Cartel for a smoldering new single, “Drip.”
Bolstered by hip-hop hot topic, Desiigner, “Drip” does just that, flowing through styles spanning Francis’s buoyant moombahton muscle to Boombox Cartel’s fluttering future bass/trap finesse. The producers’ seminal, festival-friendly flairs are on full, twofold display, with neither entity’s style audibly smothered by the other, as often happens with high-profile collaborations.
The momentous tune is a guaranteed soon-be-fixture in both producers’ prolific summer festival bookings, which include HARD Summer and EDC Korea for Francis and Lollapalooza and Electric Zoo for Boombox Cartel.
Parisian music mastermind Shiba San has already graced the music world with several new songs already this year, and the blessings continue with the release of “Rock Da House.”
Released via his own Basement Leak imprint, fans may recognize the effortlessly groovy tune from his live sets, where he’s been playing it out for months.
“I knew I had to release this track when every show went crazy for it the past few months,” he said in a Facebook post about the release. “I am so happy you love it so much.”
“Rock Da House” follows releases like the Some More EP in June and “My Harmony” in February. Shiba San is currently on tour, globetrotting from events like Defected Croatia in early August to Dirtybird Campout West Coast in October. Learn more here.
Aussie producer tyDi’s chill project Wish I Was is back, this time with a cover of Panic! At The Disco’s ‘High Hopes.’ His first cover in a long and lauded career, tyDi treats the source material with respect and puts a uniquely danceable spin on one of today’s biggest hits. It’s always a risk covering another artist’s work, but the reward here is undeniable. This isn’t so much of a copy as it is a re-imagination, a cinematic and atmospheric spin that uses Geena Fontanella’s powerful voice and a downtempo underbelly to keep things bumping smoothly while it broods.
Disney’s photorealistic reboot of The Lion King may be one of the most highly anticipated cinema events of the year. In addition to all the buzz around the franchise’s 2019 reboot, the film’s star, Beyoncé has given everyone another reason to celebrate with her new companion album, The Lion King: The Gift, which features a host of supporting talent including Major Lazer on “ALREADY.”
This isn’t the first time Beyoncé and Diplo have joined forces, and based on the worldly sonic chemistry they clearly have, it likely won’t be the last. “ALREADY” finds Queen Bey vocalizing over a regal, percussive afrobeat backdrop broken up by spits from Ghanaian producer Shatta Wale. Major Lazer have long maintained how deeply African sounds influence their music—an inspiration they proudly get to showcase alongside Beyoncé on “ALREADY.”
Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.
There’s just something about drum ‘n’ bass that’s always spoken to my soul. I remember hearing my first Pendulum song a decade ago and thinking “what on earth is this, and where can I get more?”
The genre began making its way into the electronic music sphere in the early 1990s, right around the time I was born. Its rapid breakbeats took over London and Bristol, ramping up the jungle and rave scene to 160-180 BPM. While still more widespread in the UK to this day, the genre has slowly trickled into the United States EDM scene. We still have a long way to go before drum ‘n’ bass artists are regularly installed as main stage performers at major US festivals, but there’s so much to discover and embrace in the US drum ‘n’ bass scene (I see you, Flite and Boxplot). There’s also an endless stream of quality dnb being churned out overseas, with imprints like RAM Records, Hospital Records, and Liquicity Records as strong as ever in their supporters and fan base.
I regularly tell people that have never really gotten into drum ‘n’ bass to just try. It’s a diverse and ever-evolving genre, full of sub-genres and offshoots. I guarantee you’ll find something you like in some format. Dig through the 100-song playlist I’ve compiled to celebrate 100 installments of this series to see if there’s something there for you!
Thank you, drum ‘n’ bass, for your tireless energy, emotive vocals, and the ability you always have to yank me out of a bad mood and reignite my love for electronic music in today’s day and age. Here’s to you, and the brilliant artists who create you.
It’s most important day of the week: New Music Friday. With the overwhelming amount of tunes hitting the airwaves today, Dancing Astronaut has you covered with the latest edition of The Hot 25.
With just a day’s notice, Skrillex has surprised-dropped a two-track EP on OWSLA, consisting of “Fuji Opener” and “Mumbai Power.” Knife Party came out of the woodwork, too, to reveal their first releases in four years in the form of the Lost Souls EP. Perhaps today’s biggest mega-collaboration comes in the form of Dillon Francis, Boombox Cartel and Desiigner’s “Drip,” and one of the biggest remixes is sure to be Gryffin’s remix of Shawn Mendes’ “If I Can’t Have You.” Golf Clap have cooked up a spicy remix of Madi and Robokid’s “White Horse,” and Far Out takes Zeds Dead and Delta Heavy’s “Lift You Up” to new heights. Madeaux takes listeners deep into a late-night club with “I Want You,” and Goldroom continues his string of new releases with “Nothing Matters.” DESERT STAR returns to Monstercat with “Carissa,” and Alesso remixes his own tune with TINI, “Sad Song.” Andrew Rayel and HAILENE prove to be a match made in heaven on “Take All of Me,” and Hardwell and Quintino take things up a notch with “Reckless” on Spinnin’. Ray Volpe and Aviella join forces for “Our World,” and Mark Knight’s remixed David Guetta and Raye’s “Stay (Don’t Go Away).”
As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed this NMF.
Underworld are pioneers of the progressive world. Ø [Phase] has been building a reputation for cutting edge techno for two decades now. Aside from the fact they’re both well-known British talents, the idea of their musical paths crossing seems far-fetched. We’ve come to find out, however, that not only are they fans of each others’ work, but that they also pair up like fine wine and cheese in their searing new single, “Border Country.” The track is part of Underworld’s long-spanning DRIFT project—its fourth chapter, to be exact—which concludes in October.
The futuristic, emotive qualities of Underworld productions complement the pounding, atmospheric aesthetic put forth by Ø [Phase] quite nicely, equating to an intense journey that can be likened to travelling through space. Not to mention, the track is expertly built; it continues to build in strength all the way through to the end, concluding after a second drop that knocks listeners on their feet. It marks one of the most unexpected and bold moves that Underworld has made in recent years, and we suspect the record will be heavily rinsed among the techno community.