Dance music fans are no strangers to artists opting for anonymity, be it in the form of a helmet or mask, or even refraining from live performance over facing public fame. It has proven to be an effective strategy, from Daft Punk to Zhu — whether its a marketing ploy or an element of the creator’s artistic method, keeping one’s identity in the backseat has become an enticing angle for electronic music producers over the last two decades.
Now, Polymod is the latest artist to join the ranks of the anonymous, and he (or she) has emerged with the release of a new self-titled EP Polymod. Details on the new project’s owner are scarce — all that is known of Polymod is that the person is a veteran of the UK electronic music scene who is choosing to release music under this new alias. The three-track tech house EP is a satisfying teaser for those attracted to dark undertones and pulsating beats, available now on 17 Steps. Let the Polymod speculation begin.
Beloved icon Carl Cox cast his 2016 single “Your Light Shines On” out into the electrosphere, and it returned to him reimagined by two stalwart duo.
Chus & Ceballos offered up a house-based rendition of the original, opting to stay truer its roots. That isn’t to say they didn’t make it into their own. The outfit laid down the grooves with a pronounced bassline and minimal synths, creating an enduring piece. It’s infectious as ever, per their usual tendencies.
Meanwhile, Pan-Pot naturally took a darker and more industrial turn with their rendition, injecting cloudy white noise, robotic bloops, and throbbing bass into the mix to create a knocking techno tune. They too maintain the soulful elements of “Your Light Shines On,” however, summoning nostalgia at the end of the their edit.
Purchase the Remixes to ‘Your Light Shines On’ here
Joyce Muniz and Aquarius Heaven had quite the ear-grabbing collaboration on their hands in “Chapter 4.” Now, rising talent SHADED has entered the ring to insert a helping of undulating grooves into the mix.
The LA native takes on a minimalist approach, employing basic elements at key places to create subdued impact. A smooth, funk-laden bassline is wrapped nicely in a churning bout of percussion and accented with licks of Aquarius Heaven’s vocals from the original. The coup de gras of course is SHADED‘s synthwork, which creates a futuristic vibe to the finished thanks to its robotic tendencies.
Danny Howells, Dave Seaman, and Darren Emerson are icons in their own right. Each of these three stalwarts has spent well over two decades on the international circuit, pioneering the sounds of house, progressive, and other groove-centered strains of dance music. Their unrelenting standards and passion for what they do drives their continued success.
When these three come together as one, the result can only mean destruction — in the best sense of the term. Much like the nuances within their own respective styles, “3D” thus comes about as a multi-faceted new project that sees Emerson, Howells, and Seaman’s sounds merging into a complementary union. The project has already bred a notable occurrence: Danny Howells’ first release after an extended hiatus. It appears on their eponymous EP, which explores the history of house music with a modern sensibility. Meanwhile, the mixes they’ve assembled thus far as a group points to their excellent chemistry as a team.
Now, 3D are about to set forth on an expansive North American tour which commences March 29 — the first round of dates that will secure their impending domination as the new powerhouse group on the block. We got ahold of Dave and Danny ahead of time to talk about forming 3D, their pipeline, and more.
Hi guys, tell us what led to the creation of 3D. Whose idea was it and what’s your goal with the project? Plus do you see it as something long-term? Danny: We’ve all known each other for years, so when we ended up playing together at Ministry we obviously loved it and wanted to take it further, which is where Dave really came into action in terms of tying it all together.
I think we’ve all done so much during our careers that our goals now are to enjoy what we do, as well as getting into some new areas, both geographically and musically, that we might not have strayed into before.
Dave: I suggested branding the night at the Ministry Of Sound as 3D as a bit of a joke initially. I really didn’t expect it to take on a life all of it’s own and turn into an actual thing. But now it is, I think we’ve all realised that it’s going to be a lot of fun travelling and playing together. Who knows where it will all lead. For the moment, we’re really enjoying it and long may that continue.
3D’s creation lead to Danny Howells’ first original material getting released in years. Can we expect more 3D EPs like the last one on Dave’s label Selador coming soon? Plus will the three of you be creating a track together in the coming future? Danny: I’d taken a massive hiatus from production although I always knew I’d start again when the time was right, and this project gave me the nudge I needed.
Dave: Yeah we were so happy we managed to coerce Dan back into the studio. I think you’ll agree he was ready as his output has already proved, but he just needed a little push. We’re already talking about the next EP and there’s definitely an appetite for us all to do something together at some point. Goodness knows how that will turn out but I look forward to it.
With each of you being a legend in your own right, how difficult was it you adjusting to becoming a team? What does each of you bring to 3D and how you balance everything out? Plus how are you able to read each other if one of you goes off on a tangent? Danny: I don’t think any of us see ourselves as being a legend, so when we get in the box together there’s only two goals – play as well as we can and have a blast doing it! There is a musical adjustment to playing as a threesome instead of solo, but we always pick our sets to pieces afterwards to see what worked and what didn’t, and how we can make it better next time.
I think we’re all capable of going off on tangents, but as we usually wind up doing just two or three tracks each, so we tend to stay in check!
With such a history of success behind you all, what motivates you to continue pushing things forward and searching for new audiences?
Danny: For me it still boils down to the buzz I get from playing the tunes I adore to people who hopefully enjoy them as much as I do.
Darren: I’ve been doing this for 30 years now and never get tired of seeing the reactions big tunes get on the dance floor. I still love discovering new producers and searching for the perfect beat. Guess you could say it’s become a life-long habit.
You’re touring the States soon. Will you be creating a special playlist for the shows? Or just ‘freestyling?’ Danny: We tend look at each gig, room size, set time etc to get a rough idea of what we’ll do, whether we go straight in with the bangers or whether we’ve got time to work through the genres a bit. There’s no planning as such and we tweak things up during the night if we feel it needs it. We’re all very honest with each other and tell each other afterwards exactly what we thought. Our post gig autopsies are pretty epic!
Dave: I think part of the fun is the spontaneity. Not really knowing where each of us might take the narrative keeps us all on our toes. Being slightly out of our comfort zones is stimulating and as all of us have been DJing longer than we care to remember. We’re relishing the challenge!
If you each had to choose one track from your repertoire that you had to play at every gig the rest of your lives, which would it be?
Danny: Damn this is a hard one! If I had to choose one of my own songs then I’d maybe go for “Laid Out”, purely because I’ve already played it out so many times and never got bored of it. If it was someone else’s tune then maybe something like “Accadian” by The Mole, or Jimpster’s old remix of Robert Babicz, for the same reason. I’ve absolutely rinsed those.
Dave: One of mine you mean? I’d probably go with ‘Nightfalls’. It’s very easy to get bored of your own productions, especially when you spend so long in the studio making them but I never seem to get bored of that one, largely due to the timeless vocal by Gaelle Adisson if I’m honest.
What are other stuff are you guys doing for the rest of the year? Plus are there any special projects coming up you want to talk about? Danny: We have a load of 3D gigs lined up which I’m really looking forward to, as well as further studio escapades as discussed before. My next release will be out in the next month or so.
Darren: I’ve got some remixes coming out next month plus also some big collabs on the way, including another one with John Digweed and Nick Muir. Our last one ‘Tracer’ got a lot of traction, so we decided it would be good to do it again. As well as playing with 3D, I’m also looking forward to playing some summer dates with Carl Cox and his crew.
Dave: My focus for the next couple of months is on my label, Selador’s 5th Birthday. We’ve got 24 artists making exclusive collaboration tracks together that we’re releasing as 3 separate EPs. We’re launching the whole thing at Watergate in Berlin at the end of April. It’s gonna be a big statement project for us and we’re really proud of it. I’ve also got releases lined up on AFFKT’s Sincopat label and Alex Niggemann’s Soul Fooled, plus remixes for Martin Eyerer & Tim Engelhardt. So it’s going to be a busy year.
Deadmau5 has a proven A&R knack for spotting emerging talent, and historically, he’s equipped them to go off and take over their own corners of the ever-growing EDM empire. If the career trajectories of artists like REZZ or Skrillex serve as any indication, then we have another star on our hands with Rinzen.
The LA-based mau5trap recruit, currently riding his breakthrough wave on the recent “Prologue” tour, has now dropped off his debut mixtape of the same name, giving fans a glimpse at his crate of current personal favorites. Rinzen blends tracks from Mind Against, Adriatique, and Jeremy Olander, along with two unreleased original pieces and a handful of additionally sophisticated tech house selects.
This is The Prologue, my first-ever mixtape. It’s a 1-hour mix which features some of my favorite music of the moment, as well as two brand new Rinzen tracks.
I’m giving away the mix for free. If you retweet this post, I’ll send you a download of the mixhttps://t.co/Ashw21uRLZ
So far, the burgeoning beatmaker has delivered exceptionally conceptual projects, and “The Prologue” mixtape is no different. There’s an underlying theme of equal parts trepedation and thrilling excitement that plays across the hour-long mix as it dips into deep house, progressive, and tribal territories. The mix reflects the process by which Rinzen continues to find his footing in this first chapter of his career as he sets out on what’s clearly going to be a momentous journey for the emerging producer.
Kyle Watson is no stranger to scintillating tech house sizzlers. The South African export has steadily climbed the ranks since he first entered the electrosphere a decade ago, landing himself global acclaim and eventually being accepted into the Dirtybird flock as a prominent rising talent.
His music is oftentimes a blend of irresistibly danceable drum patterns, funked up melodies, and jarring vocal samples, with singles like his Billy Kenny collaboration “Wiggly Worm” and solo works like “Moments” and “Pop Up” lighting up dancefloors worldwide.
Now, the time has come for him to bring his brand to San Diego’s CRSSD Fest, where he’ll be setting The Palms ablaze with a plethora of contemporary music built for maximum movement. To further invigorate the pre-festival excitement, he’s provided Dancing Astronaut with a short, yet sweet mix that makes for a perfect pre-game soundtrack. It features a high-charged selection of booty-shaking house, tribal tech, and grooving vocal-assisted cuts.
London producer Endor is making waves in the global house sphere. Releases such as “Fever” and remixes of La Roux‘s “In for the Kill” and S-Man’s “Intimidating Love” have bolstered the 23 year old producer’s recognition, and he’s on pace to make waves in 2018 through an entirely distinct sonic landscape.
With support from the likes of Mistajam and Skream, the young producer heads into the year blazing with “Gunna Be Mine,” a disco influenced tech house ballad that moves and grooves in mercurial fashion. It’s a departure from his previous body of work, but an inviting one at that. The track encapsulates the modern tech house sound with its own vigor and stylistic touch, and raises expectations for Endor in 2018.
While ascending artists usually come out of the gate ready to prove themselves with a SoundCloud full of music and a hungry drive, few make their entrance with a live show and a stacked artist team. For FANGS, producer Danny D’Brito, this is exactly what his foray into his solo music career looks like.
In fact, the artist recently enlisted one of the top agents in the industry, Ben Hogan, who represents the likes of NGHTMRE, Slander and Elohim, to take his career to the next level. Hogan was one of the many agents vying for the artist due to his ‘triple threat’ potential, which is a position even the most high profile producers in the game rarely face.
FANGS’ great ‘potential’ is the sum of a multitude of factors. He’s a self-taught musician who plays guitar, drums, bass, and the keys. He is a former member of the group Brass-Knuckles and opened his own recording studio at just 22. This collection of experiences led him to the fortuitous position he is currently in for his artist debut as FANGS.
The production quality of his releases speak for themselves, and FANGS’ newest track “Venom” will almost certainly find its home as a club hit with an other-worldly vibe and an upbeat tech-house backbone. Deep vocals propel the melody onward, and the dynamic track leaves the listener wanting more at its close. It also begs the question of what the artists’ live show will look like, as the track is practically manufactured to captivate an audience.
To accompany the track, the artist has released a glossy music video — premiered exclusively via Dancing Astronaut — with visuals that are equal parts harrowing and intoxicating. Poisonous snakes and models writhe across the screen as the track’s spare vocal refrain flashes atop the melee.
While “Venom” is distinctly tech house, FANGS’ future productions range from house to radio worthy progressive hits, lending him the versatility it takes to make it in today’s electronic music scene.
Dancing Astronaut spoke with the rising artist about what we can expect from his impending live show, how his team will be instrumental in his 2018 ascension, and his view on the industry today. Read the full interview below:
1. If you had to set specific goals for yourself in 2018, what would those be? What can we expect from you this year?
I feel the 2018 goal is really all about my music exploration! I’m really looking forward to finally bringing the FANGS live show out to the public. It’s been a lot of late nights curating and planning all the details for this upcoming year. We’re now just focusing on implementing my music in phases, and feeling out the markets and rooms we will launch in.
2. Your live show has been described as a ‘multi-dimensional’ experience. What does that mean, and when will we be able to see it?
I feel music and visuals make the perfect marriage in expression. My goal has always been to have my music tell a story and evoke feelings — I’m definitely keen on visuals helping to paint that picture. I just feel the two work so well together, so in my eyes, they are one in the same. That’s why I’ve made it a point to have all my releases accompanied by a music video or visual vignette.
With that said, when it comes to the live show experience, I want to be able to utilize all of our exploratory senses. I’d reference ‘Pink Floyd’s The Wall’ tour which is still going strong these days thanks to Roger Waters. He puts on a complete live musical and visual spectacle with a narrative from beginning to end.
I want to focus on incorporating projections, physical props and performers that help tell the story. We are currently working on some exciting plans and incorporating some unconventional technology that can potentially take my live show format to a new experience. 3. You’ve got quite a team behind you. You’ve also been in this industry for a while. How integral would you say having a stellar team is to an artist’s success in the commercialized electronic world we now live in? Having a stellar team is vital and the ultimate key to success for any artists’ career. It would be an understatement to say how proud and grateful I am for my management team, Summer Chàpin and Tom Williams, as well as my agent Ben Hogan at Circle. They are a constant inspiration to me and their belief in FANGS is what propels us forward.
There are many moving parts in this industry and it’s nearly impossible for one person to properly cover all the various aspects alone. I’ve got a team of professionals that are experts in their given field, which allows me to focus on producing the art. They help orchestrate my career and are the spearhead to so many new opportunities.
Having a team that is not only qualified, but that you consider family is essential for getting real skin in this game.
4. Does your previous experience of being a part of a production trio, opening your own music studio, and producing a variety of genres give you a different view of the celebrity DJ/Producer world than your peers since you have been involved in so many different layers of this scene? I have no doubt that when it comes to this world, experience can mean everything. I’ve experienced many high moments, and extreme low blows in my journey in music. Experience develops foresight and keeps your ego in check. You learn not to get too excited and interpret things for what they are. You take in your good and bad experiences as lessons to better your journey moving forward.
I’ve also had the opportunity to produce and collaborate in so many genres across the spectrum. It really allowed me to have versatility when it comes to not being pigeonholed musically and allows me to evolve freely with the times. You will learn a lot from others when collaborating. It teaches you how to work, listen and take criticism from others.
By understanding how others work, you get a better understanding of yourself. Some of the biggest producers I had the opportunity in working with were the most open minded and inquisitive people I’ve ever met.
5. What kind of music would we find you listening to at home when no one is around?
I’m definitely a student of music. I have a decent sized record collection spanning classical music to music from the 1930’s to today. It’s fair to say I listen to everything. Music is music.
The more variety I listen to and the more that absorbs into my brain, the bigger the palate I have to pull from when creating new music. When working in the studio, especially with songwriters, I tend to pull the most left-field obscure references that end up being totally relevant to the project at hand. I think it’s important for all artists to open their creative minds to the decades of music out there for us to feast on.
Don’t limit your ears to just the flavor of the week or month. Genres I’ve been listening to heavy in the last couple of weeks have been Industrial, Indie, experimental, electronic female artists from Nordic countries like Hanne Hukkelberg, Jazz / Bossa Nova, Trip Hop, Deep, Tech, G house and Metal.
Two Californian stalwarts have joined forces for an eclectic, yet grooving EP that lands on Tiga‘s Turbo imprint.
SHADED and Harvard Bass — longtime friends and colleagues — have proven their complementary sensibilities through their brand new effort, Body Feels. They recruited vocalist Herswerve to help open the EP with its namesake track, creating a sensual piece of work with a satisfying bassline and an ear-catching, yet simple hook. It soon unfolds into a cacophony of intriguing samples that strike at various times over its hypnotic overlay, making for a hypnotic peaktime piece.
Meanwhile, “Work” is tougher on the edges, using deeper frequencies to entice the mind. Enduring and groovy to its core, “Work” puts off a jubilant vibe with vocal clips that leave consumers with little choice but to begin dancing.
Anabel Englund needs little introduction; the songstress has made a significant name for herself within the house circuit for her savvy vocal work, and later became a mainstay on the scene in co-founding her own Gari Safari imprint. Now, she finds herself on Desert Hearts for an inspiring EP alongside RYBO that is designed to shake the dancefloor.
Call U Rite Back starts off on a deceptively smooth note with its title opener, luring the listener into a false sense of security before exploding into a gritty tech house underlay that complements Englund’s warm vocals well. Classic influences add a nice twist to the finished product, summoning bits of nostalgia while maintaining a modern sensibility.
“Just For The High” — which features fellow Desert Hearts resident Lubelski — is equally infectious, starting off on a more impactful note with beefed up kicks and scintillating white noise. More subdued that the preceeding track, Call U Rite Back’s B-side is a veritable groover meant for the afterhours.
Finally, the EP closes with a Mark Jenkyns re-work of “Call U Rite Back.” Jenkyns’ re-imagining places the song in a deep house canvas. Englund’s vocals are subtly laced in, though the true centerpiece of this re-work is its instrumentation and arrangement.