In 2017, we saw the expansion of techno, Dirtybird’s fam grow exponentially, and the love for electronic music continue to rise throughout the world. While many festivals did not return, we saw a wave of new ones that left ever-lasting impressions on us. It’s obviously impossible to cover all of our favorite artists from this past year as they continue to grow, however we’d like to give a quick shout-out to those artists that really left a memorable mark for us in 2017.
From the best holograms in world with his sold out EPIC 5.0 show in London, to a summer long residency at Hï Ibiza, to the numerous names and personalities including Pryda, Tonja Holma, Cirez D, and of course Eric Prydz which music is released upon, there seemed to be no end in sight to the quality, beauty, and energy that Eric put into 2017. A true artist loves his fans, so when Eric wrote and dedicated the song “Lillo” to his fan James Lillo who was going to get the private show of a lifetime, but died of cancer, that didn’t stop Eric. Playing two back-to-back shows at Sound in Los Angeles with all proceeds going towards the Cancer Research Institute, they were able to donate over $60,000. That’s true appreciation and love by an artist to his fans until the end.
Billy Kenny’s name has appeared on virtually every major festival’s lineup this year and for good reason, the UK-bred, LA-based DJ/producer, is simply killing it! Billy Kenny has had a huge festival season, including debut appearances at Shambhala and Tomorrowland, closing out the Cosmic Meadow stage at EDC Las Vegas, and curating stages under his label, This Ain’t Bristol, at Nocturnal Wonderland and Groove Cruise LA. The TAB label head has spent the majority of the year touring worldwide on his Planet Earth tour and introducing his frequently sold out ‘Clocking In’ show concept, where he plays open to close sets and rewards fans for “clocking in the longest.” Earlier this year (to be specific, on my birthday-thanks BK), he released one of my personal favorite EP’s, Billy Kenny and Friends, featuring collabs with fellow rising stars, Walker & Royce, Josh Brown, and more. The tech-house goodness does not end there, also releasing his must-hear EP, The Hood, on the esteemed Relief Records and his remix of Claude VonStroke’s “Barrump” on the Dirtybird Campout West Coast Compilation. From his eclectic musical style, infectious stage presence, party animal ways, and hard work, he has become one of my favorite artists and standouts of 2017. I predict an even greater 2018 for the multifaceted artist and can’t wait to see what else he has in store for us in the coming year.
Every year I have that one artist who creeps onto every playlist I make, they infiltrate my dreams with their beats, and they attach themselves to my stand out memories. 2017 will be the year of the k?d, he blew me away with his release “Lose Myself ft. Phil Good” and as I dug deeper into the discography of k?d I became more entranced. Rezz another big artist of 2017 teamed up with k?d to release the knock out track “Fourth Impact.” I rarely have an artist that holds my attention the way that k?d does, I find myself never skipping the tracks that this young producer releases because he has just enough lyrical content and bass-build up to grab and hold my attention. Not only did k?d spend his time producing songs, but he had a break out year for festivals as well, he was included on the line-ups for EDC Las Vegas, Electric Zoo, and Nocturnal Wonderland. I have a feeling 2018 will grow this K?D into the game changer he is set up to become.
It’s not so often that an artist catches your attention from remixes alone, especially so young into their career. The anonymous artist Midnight Kids did just this and more with the wild ride they had in 2017. Kicking their project off with an official remix for Matthew Koma and following up with their take on Lost Kings “Quit You” will definitely help slingshot anyone into the limelight. Before they knew it, The Chainsmokers were interested in having them flip their huge hit “Young” off their recent album Memories… Do Not Open, which went on to garner over five million plays on Spotify alone. With a few more remixes to close off the year and the massive success Midnight Kids has seen thus far, it’s safe to say that this is one artist you are going to want to look out for in 2018! We can expect their first originals to be loaded with the high energy they infuse in every song they give their midnight twist to.
It’s difficult to break through the white noise of dozens of releases that come out every year, but Ramiro Lopez proved to do that with ease in 2017. I really do stand by what I said a few months ago – Ramiro Lopez is reshaping techno as we know it. The Spanish DJ, producer, and co-label head of Odd Recordings has become a driving force in creative styling and innovative production in the genre. This year has been an exceptional one as he’s produced hits like Pretending EP, “Pachamama,” and Being Alone EP that have assaulted the charts. With high hopes that 2018 will deliver more heavy-hitters from this rising techno maven, whatever Ramiro Lopez has in store for us, it’s going to be GOOD.
Black Coffee was always going to be a standout artist in 2017 with the release of his dance album last year, Pieces of Me, that helped the South African DJ gain popularity for his soulful and feel-good tunes. Working with Defected and Universal has resulted in the brewing of some tracks that have been heralded as Ibiza classics as he dominated his first-ever residency on the party island this past summer, as well as making appearances at fledgeling festivals like The Social Festival where the leafy and forest-like venue complemented the down-to-earth nature of his music. Transforming house into something jazz-like yet tropical is Black Coffee’s best quality and as Billboard described, ‘Black Coffee is music to wake up to, to get you through the day, and tuck you in at night. Black Coffee is perfect for lounging around the house, knocking out those chores, getting ready for a late night, and driving off into sunset. It’s uplifting music, it’s creation without borders or boundaries, and it’s good for the soul.’
This producer has made 2017 his year, with countless shows, new music, and unforgettable festival sets that have now made permanent notches in his growing belt. I first caught wind of this incredible young artist at Insomniac’s Middlelands this past summer in Todd Mission, Texas. From the beginning, we only knew a song or two that was curated into the festival’s official playlist. It didn’t take long for Nulight to suck us in and hook us for good. He kept bringing more and more of the passerby’s in to throw up some dust clouds in shuffle circles. With his mix of Jade’s “Made in China” and his own seductive “I Mean”, we knew that he would be someone to keep our eyes on. He brings out this infectious energy through his special concoction of dark bass house, off the beaten path rhythms, and overall smooth blending multiple styles of house. I first got hooked on his EP Agent Moody before he dropped his most recent work Dead End, both are perfect examples of his style while also having different elements coming into play, making each EP stand on their own. Now, I will never miss an opportunity to see him and currently haunt his Spotify and Soundcloud pages like a fiend. We’re sure you will too.
I first heard his track “Ya Kidding” dropped by Claude VonStroke and Billy Kenny at BangOn!’s Elements Lakewoods and my friends and I spent the rest of the summer obsessing and trying to figure out what it was. His tracks get dancefloors moving like few others can and he specializes in creating some of the deepest and dirtiest basslines in the tech-house genre. His EP Ya Didn’t was dropped this fall and it’s tracks are secret weapons of artists across the DirtyBird record label, solidifying him as a core member of the label all in a few months work.
CharlestheFirst is easily my standout artist of 2017. His sound is so easily identifiable and I’m absolutely in love with the perfect mix of psychedelic ambiance and melodic dreams he creates. His style is extremely original while using a field recorder to capture nature’s organic sounds like bird calls, waterfalls, and percussive hits. Just about all of his songs radiate a mysteriously trippy vibe and almost instantly put me in a moody trance. This year was a major one for him as he set out to play at some of the largest stages alongside tremendously well known acts. Aside from his shows at local concert venues all across the country, he took the stage at Tipper & Friends, Enchanted Forest Gathering, Lightning in a Bottle, Shambhala, and at Basscenter while opening for Bassnectar. He put out two EPs, multiple singles, and quite a few remixes. There’s no doubt about it that he shows no signs of slowing down in 2018!
Yotto is an artist that has been on my radar for quite some time now, and really caught mine and many others attention with his 2016 track “Firewalk,” but 2017 definitely proved to be the year of Yotto’s flight. This Finnish producer has been hard at work for years already fine tuning his sound between the depths of deep house and the soft harmonics of trance, finding himself becoming a staple of the Anjunadeep label. This year marks historic achievement for Yotto as he blew Do Lab enthusiasts at Coachella 2017 with a set that perfectly portrayed the dance fueled mindset of the crowd. To top the year off, he has also released a full five track EP North, which boasts his biggest release to date. The EP has a delicate mixture of ethereal sky watching tracks, hard deep house, and intricate melodies that prove that Yotto is one who can offer a wide variety of sound and can keep his sound fresh. With such a large release coming at the end of the year, I can only assume that Yotto’s momentum is just beginning and and truly ecstatic to see what 2018 will bring.
No other artist captured my attention in 2017 quite like Illenium, whose Awake album blew my mind and overflew my playlist this autumn. Culminating with the Awake Tour, the album featured some of the best future bass tracks I laid eyes upon this year, and I haven’t skipped any as whatever track comes out of the American artist’s hands turns to gold. As an early Christmas present fans got the release of Awake Piano Covers, a set of 3 songs completely transformed into melodic, powerful and passionate tracks, while keeping the artist’s signature and an overall chill vibe. When it comes to shows, I can’t get over Illenium’s performance at EDC Las Vegas this year, when he worked with one of the best sets of his genre. Having such a game going on, I’m more than certain that 2018 will find Illenium as prepared as ever to release new tracks and mesmerize EDM fans worldwide. If I were to bet on which artist will take over the headlines in 2018 my money would be, undoubtedly, on Illenium.
From being featured on annual albums by both Technique Recordings and UKF to taking their act intercontinental for the first time, 2017 was a big year for Document One. Always touted as one of the best talents on Technique Recordings, people have started to pick up what Matt King and Joe Froud are throwing down. Their releases this year spanned the sub genres of drum and bass, but their range can best be recognized by the two EP’s that bookended the year. They started the year off with the 7th Dimension EP, a deep, dark release which impresses in its clean production and heavy use of minimal sounds. They ended the year with the Haunted Spaces EP. The title track is not afraid to lend some levity and play on a bouncier and groovier side of the spectrum. Their combination of energetic, hard, drum and bass mixed with funky basslines and the ability to mix up the moods of their productions has been recognized as something to watch out for.
We wish all artists and our fans all the best in 2018.