As the Digital Age of music develops and an unfathomable number of new tracks are released each day, a DJ’s role in the music industry is becoming more and more relevant. We now live busier lives than ever, and most music fans are only capable of exploring a small fraction of the music out there. This is where a DJ’s skills come into play — they do all the exhaustive research, find the latest and greatest new music, and then let listeners discover it all via a 5-minute track. DJs are no longer simply electronic musicians remixing other artists’ songs, but they are the curators of music in this unprecedented age of musical growth and experimentation.
While there are thousands of truly talented DJ’s out there, today I bring you a few that are not only worth your time, but also worth following to see what they continue to put out. Please keep in mind this list is not ranked and is nowhere near exhaustive. Consider it a small sampling. Are you ready? Here are Up-and-Coming DJs You’ll Want to Look Out For.
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Hailing from the Netherlands, Sander van Dijck, aka San Holo, is definitely someone you want to take a listen to and follow. In fact, Billboard Dance just named his recently released album, “Album1,” the second best dance album of the year. If you haven’t listened to his new album, you might remember him from his hit single, “Light.” He also founded the music label Bitbird and uses personally recorded sounds from nature and guitar riffs to compliment his tracks.
Tracks to listen to: “Light,” “Always on My Mind”
Matthew Martin from the UK, aka KAASI, got his start riding the waves of SoundCloud and also touring Europe with ODESZA. His music is super mellow, but it also adds a certain ambiance that makes it good background music for when you’re working on a work or school project or eating at a fancy restaurant that serves high-class entrées.
Tracks to listen to: “Who You Are,” “Those Days”
What I really enjoy about this artist is his wide diversity of sounds within his sub-genre. He has the light and airy melodies you might expect with a few more industrial sounds thrown in from time to time as well. In fact, this Juno nominated artist has a strong background in hip-hop, working with other artists such as Machine Gun Kelly, Young Thug, and Hoodie Allen (among others). Take a listen to the tracks listed below, and you’ll quickly see he doesn’t limit himself to specific sounds.
Tracks to listen to: “Sense,” “Under Pressure,” & “In the End”
Imagine selling out every single show in your debut headlining tour in the U.S. That’s exactly what Kasbo did. Also touring with ODESZA, this Swedish producer and artist has slowly led to an epic build up as evidenced by making it to Best of the Week on Apple Music some 170+ instances. Billboard Dance has also flagged him as One to Watch. Bottom line, you should check out his music.
Tracks to Listen to: “About You,” “The Voice Says”
There’s something about Shallou’s ambient yet poppy beats that’s pretty soul-cleansing. It gives you that feeling of slow awakening on rainy day when you don’t have to go to work and can stay in your sweat pants all day and sip hot coffee. You know what’s also pretty cool? He’s big into saving our planet. Currently, if you donate to the Environmental Defense Fund through his website, you’ll get a free EP download.
Tracks to Listen to: “You and Me” “Begin” (Bonus: “Find” with Kasbo & Cody Lovaas)
If you’re looking for something that will put a bit more pep in your step and energize your creativity, the happy beats from Jai Wolf will take you places. Sway and dance your way through the unique sounds of tracks like “Indian Summer” and transport yourself back to vocals and synth sounds that for some reason remind me of early ’90s Alan Parson’s Project or ’90s Pink Floyd in tracks like “Starlight.” And if you get a chance to catch his show, do so.
Tracks to listen to: “Like It’s Over” & above
What So Not
Mixing ethereal melodies with high-energy drops, What So Not’s music makes for a fun ride. In addition to playing various festivals around the world, there have also been several collaborations with other artists such as Skrillex, Dillon Francis, Slumberjack, and San Holo (#12), which makes for a wide variety of sounds.
Tracks to Listen to: “Stuck in Orbit,” “Beautiful,” “If You Only Knew (with San Holo)”
Alison’s music can be described as refreshing, wild, fun, and rebellious. There’s no sleeping here; just pure energetic awesomeness, and it’s not overdone. For those of you who enjoy some Trap thrown in, she’s got your back, and if that’s not you, it’s still super easy to fall in love with her eclectic sounds and just roll with it. She’s just an overall badass.
Tracks to Listen to: “Church,” “Awake (KRANE Remix),” “Cry”
Petit Biscuit (along with a few others) is the artist that really opened my eyes to the beauty of down tempo electronic with his self-titled EP. I honestly don’t recall how I came across his music, but it was easy to get hooked. Categorized as “Tropical House,” his music is a perfect balance of light, airy, feelgood and happy, poppy beats.
Tracks to listen to: “Sunset Lover,” “Beam,” & “Gravitation”
Looking for some groovy, funky fun? Big Wild is for sure an artist you’ll want to check out. His music will make you feel like you’re first chillin’ at the beach and then hitting an after-party, even if you’re in the frigid north. This makes sense as he took on his name after moving to the Bay Area and experiencing the raw beauty of Big Sur. His EP, “Invincible,” was released in 2017, but 2019’s album “Superdream” is set to drop Feb 1st.
Tracks to listen to: “Aftergold,” ” Ascension”
Illenium is actually a bit of a newer find for me. I’d heard a track or two, but when I played the album “Awake” start to finish, I was blown away, and I know it’s not just me. According to his site, his album hit the number 1 spot in iTunes Electronic Dance Charts in 12 countries and has over 100 million streams. Layered, building, epic…this is euphoria music you can easily and fully get lost in. It will make you feel things.
Tracks to Listen to: “Crawl Outta Love,” “No Time Like Now,” “Feel Good”
If you’re wanting to follow an artist that’s blowing up, Baynk’s music is where you need to be. Recently added to the 2019 Electric Forest lineup, Baynk has witnessed a steady incline in recognition after kicking off his touring in New Zealand (where he’s from) and continuing in the U.S. just this past year. I pretty much haven’t stopped listening to his music since I happened across one of his songs on Sirius XM over a year ago. It’s pretty happy and tropical, and I’m excited to see how his music continues to develop.
Tracks to Listen to: “Want 2,” “Poolside,” & “Be in Love”