No doubt Vindata have made a name for themselves on Skrilex‘s OWSLA imprint. With notable label contributions like their 2015 EP, Through Time and Space, all the way through their latest single, alongside their label head and NSTASIA, “Favor,” the LA-based duo have successfully planted their flag as forward-thinkers in the electronic space.
Now, the pair will soon make their very first longform outing, as the “Better” producers announced their debut full-length album With Open Eyes is underway. Announcing the news on social media, the duo explained,
“Since day one, our main mission as Vindata has been to express and to inspire through our love of music. For our next project, we wanted to make something that comes from our soul, and we’re proud of what we’ve been cooking up.”
Vindata did not declare a release time frame for the album but noted that they will “soon” share the expected landing date, along with with album’s artwork. View the full statement below.
This month, Skrillex‘s LA-based artist collective, OWSLA, celebrates seven years in business. In those seven years, Skrillex went from promising mau5trap recruit, to burgeoning label head, to one of the most ubiquitous talents in electronic music history — and in turn, one of the most renown A&Rs in the game. Skrillex has achieved icon status as one of the most popular producers on the planet. His catalog speaks for itself. But perhaps more a testament to Sonny Moore’s abilities, and possibly what could wind up making a larger impact on his legacy than his own music, is the body of work he’s curated since OWSLA opened its doors seven years ago.
As the story goes, the label, named for the rabbit army in Richard Adams’ Watership Down, came into existence in 2011, shortly after Skrillex connected online with an emerging Porter Robinson. The young wunderkind instantly gripped Skrillex’s attention, and it wasn’t long before he was making plans to launch his own publishing imprint in order to host some of Robinson’s earliest, and most prolific works. Seven years later and here we are. Dancing Astronaut rounded up some of our favorite highlights from OWSLA’s first seven years, including work from Zedd, Anna Lunoe, Kill The Noise, Louis The Child, and many many more. Good people, good times.
Skrillex‘s OWSLA label blows out the candles celebrating seven years this month, and if the collective’s seventh anniversary is expected to impart any luck, then new Skrillex music might be on the way — and sooner than fans expect. Venerated audio engineer Randy Urbanski, whose credits include Skrillex, Beyoncé, and Katy Perry, took to social media to pay tribute to OWSLA in a way that may have implied that Skrillex is eyeing his impending return to the release ring, perhaps as early as October, 2018. Urbanksi included an image of Skrillex performing at XS in 2015 and captioned the visual with a particularly cryptic caption.
“Time flies when you’re having fun. And this year was slow. Can’t wait till this guy is back changing the game next month.”
Fans will remember Diplo spilling the beans on a new record in the works from the OWSLA head honcho earlier this year. Beyond that, the “Parachute” producer’s recent bookings at New Year’s Eve events, Snowta and Decadence, and an annual trip to Burning Man, signal the producer’s return to the festival circuit, a comeback that would naturally coincide with the release of new music, perhaps even a fleshed out project. For now, it seems the waiting game may be nearing an end though.
Earlier this week, Ekali announced via social media that his debut Crystal Eyes EP had been finished. Well, fans didn’t have long to wait to hear where the OWSLA mainstay’s sonic sensibilities are at, with the producer sharing a gorgeous vocal track featuring Yuna called “Leaving.” The full EP is set to arrive in full on OWSLA/Big Beat records September 28.
Within seconds, the song opens its arms and invites listeners to immerse themselves in a melodic, radio-ready verse framed by tinkling bells, gentle piano chords, and sweeping strings. As the chorus hits, Ekali enters a laid back drum beat and deep bass line that lean in heavily to the track’s potent escapism. The result is a cut ideal for an emotional set closer that’s equally suited to soundtrack summer sunset drives. Clocking in under three minutes, the song is a short and sweet teaser for now – but bet on the rising producer to keep making noise this year as his latest tour kicks off in LA this October, just after Crystal Eyes is released.
Super duo Carmada has released the official remix package for their latest single “Ready For It,” and Seattle-based dubstep producer MUST DIE! has tried his hand at remixing the track. MUST DIE! ascended into notoriety thanks to a feverish bass community following, and he has continued to manufacture infectious dubstep and bass hits ever since, releasing tracks on the likes of Dim Mak, OWSLA, where his Aussie counterparts also have roots, and now Insomniac Records.
MUST DIE!’s remix of “Ready For It” echoes the original, though suffice it to say the “VIPs” producer does what he does best, kicking his take on Carmada up a notch. Layering in heavy, robotic synths over the track’s drop MUST DIE! lays his transformative spin over the new track, adding another menacing remix to his already blistering catalog.
If you don’t know about Insane Cherry — the YouTube page that essentially takes every viral animal video in existence and samples them to cover iconic songs— now you do, and you’re welcome. For the page’s latest addition, the folks behind Insane Cherry decided to take on Skrillex & Damian Marley‘s classic dubstep jam “Make It Bun Dem.” And though it’s been sitting there for almost a year, this gem may just be the greatest Skrillex remix ever made, and now seems like the perfect time to appreciate it.
Armed with sample cuts of cats and dogs running into doors, birds chirping, a goat sneezing, “seal cymbals” and the secret ingredient in most Skrillex songs, “ultimate cat bass” the Insane Cherry masterminds reinvent Skrillex and Jr. Gong’s seminal collaboration in perhaps the most unusual way possible. Let’s just say that Skrillex would be proud.
Skrillex returned to the festival circuit recently, taking on Japan’s Fuji Rock with a widely acclaimed hiatus-ending performance. Warming an enormous crowd for Kendrick Lamar’s headlining slot, Skrillex’s set came littered with personal edits, mash-ups, newer material, canonized Skrillex classics, and best of all — a handful of brand new, yet-to-be-identified burners. While nearly everyone, from Fuji Rockers in Japan to eager viewers and listeners across the world, were just enamored to see the OWSLA honcho’s first main stage DJ set of the year, one onlooker in particular — Josh Pan — had their mind set on what’s coming next. The proverbial “soon” passed around by Skrillex fans seems to be closer than anyone thought, and those unidentified new tracks may be getting their names in the very near future.
In a social media post, in which Pan confirms new music of his own, the young experimentalist couldn’t help but share some words of endearment about his label head, though some key words in his post jump right off the screen,
“We’re both about to put out some crazy music this year. He’s back!!!!”
This year. He’s back.
It has been four years since Moore’s seminal studio debut, Recess, and it didn’t take long for fans to start calling for more. And while the former screamo frontman has delivered a steady stream of material in the last near half decade since his first LP, we haven’t been treated to a cohesive body of Skrillex work like Recess since. As it goes, earlier this year Diplo confirmed Jack Ü could once again return, though only after Skrillex finishes a full-length project he’s working on. We can take Diplo’s words at face value, though without any concrete details, the story behind Skrillex’s sophomore LP remains unsubstantiated. Now, with Josh Pan’s keen choice of words, it looks like “soon,” may finally have an expiration date.
Skrillex is known not only for his own music, but also for his music curation and ability to identify young talent and bring it to fruition. After picking up on OddKidOut, Skrillex saw the potential and over the course of a year has been working with the up-and-coming artist for the release of his EP, Solstice. This EP is a little different than others, considering it’s made up of samples from the OWSLA catalog, ranging from Yogi‘s “Money On My Mind” and Tennyson‘s “Cry Bird,” to Skrillex’s “Would You Ever.”
Each track is strategically composed with vibrant elements that allow each song to stand out on its own, but also come together as a beautifully cohesive body of work. All four tracks also come with complementing music videos that start with a time of day and a range of scenes from dancing, friends, cryptic messages and more. The addition of the videos allows the listener to further understand and relate to each song.
OddKidOut shows excellent production proficiency in this EP and truly shows his ability to pull inspiration from multiple places, while still remaining true to his sultry lo-fi and slightly trappy style.
There is no denying Canadian producer Ekali has had a big few years with a sold-out headlining tour and hit collaborations with the likes of ZHU. The producer is back with new music in the form of OWSLA release “Blood Moon,” a collaboration with TYNAN and Hekler.
The track is a cutting bass-trap fusion with commanding drops that will undoubtedly be featured in future festival and club performances. Ekali commented on his Twitter that he considers co-producers TYNAN and Hekler to be some of the most talented up-and-coming bass producers in the scene, and “Blood Moon” certainly speaks to that. Fans who like the song can download it for free via SoundCloud.
Getting signed to a record label is no small feat for any artist, though OddKidOut’s initiation into OWSLA‘s rankings might be the most nerve racking trial by fire any new signee has ever faced. The young Philadelphia-native’s first assignment, handed down from Skrillex, was to dig through OWSLA’s discography, chop up his favorite samples, and to turn them into something entirely new.
The final returned product from the prodigious beatsmith is a spectacular four-track debut EP titled Solstice, that recreates some of the label’s finest sonic snippets. On the EP’s latest offering, “Napa Street,” OddKidOut reconstructs the hook of Skrillex and Poo Bear‘s “Would You Ever,” into an echoing lo-fi hip-hop gem, piecing together an unwinding downtempo glitch primed for hazy summer night cruising. Ahead of the track and Liam Underwood-directed music video premiere, OddKidOut sat down with Dancing Astronaut to dive into the producer’s storied come up that amounted to his new OWSLA EP.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. You’ve been a touring dummer since you were 13. How did drumming impact the transition to making electronic music?
I started drumming when I was six and eventually got into producing when I was 15. I had been listening to everything from hip-hop to death metal, dubstep to jazz. Once I got my chops up on producing after a few years, I started to combine all those genres into something that was exciting to me. The transition wasn’t that hard because I was just doing what I thought sounded cool. I never really labeled it as a “genre” though. But all those years of learning the drums, plus working in a bunch of different environments made producing a bit easier from the jump.
Diplo (among others) is on record as saying that Skrillex is one of the best drummers alive in the way that he understands and designs percussion. Working closely with him now, can you speak to that?
What’s really cool about Sonny’s music is that even when it’s not a percussive element, it’s still super rhythmic and has a ton of motion. Listening to his music is so fun when you’re a percussionist because you’re picking up on all the cadences of the way he chops vocals, to the way he programs his signature sounds. And even better…getting to watch his workflow a few times really opened up the way I program my sounds now.
We’d be hard pressed to find another instance in which a newly signed artist is first tasked with remixing pieces of the label’s existing discography. Was making Solstice stressful? Tell us a little bit about going through OWSLA’s discography for this EP.
It was definitely an unorthodox approach for a debut project, but I loved making it. Sonny knew I was good at chopping up samples, so he sent OWSLA’s full discography to me and I spent like five to six months creating all types of new tracks [with] them. I probably made [something] like 45 songs, but ended up only wanting to release four of them. I had a lot of time to myself in Los Angeles so I would go through, artist by artist, and just flip them over and over until I got something I really liked. We all thought it was just a cool concept.
Some projects experience trouble translating the studio output into a live performance; and a typical CDJ setup doesn’t really seem to align with your style. What would your ideal live performance hardware setup look like?
I try not to pigeon-hole myself with anything musically. I do spin a lot with just CDJ’s…but I think you’re right in the sense that I want my live show to be more than just that. Ideally, I would have CDJ’s, a Native Instruments Maschine MK3 and Jam, and an acoustic drum set, preferably a Gretsch. That way I could trigger a shit-ton of loops and be able to spazz out percussively on a few different mediums.
Sampling is obviously a huge part of your craft. How does hip-hop culture’s use of sampling inspire what you do? Who initially sparked that interest in you?
The 90’s boom-bap era is one of the defining reasons why I love music. I remember playing Tony Hawk’s Underground on my PS2 when I was younger and hearing “Low Class Conspiracy” by Quasimoto. That lead me to start listening to Madlib, and then from there came J Dilla, Pete Rock, etc. Watching these guys inspired me to get an MPC and to start flipping up records. I always loved older music, and music with soul, so the whole process of flipping up records quickly became my favorite thing to do.
2018 looks to be your breakout year and OWSLA feels like a fitting home for you. What’s next for OKO?