RB Exclusive Interview: Minnesota
April 17, 2018
April 17, 2018
This Spring, the Phoenix Lights return for a fourth year, and this time the message (and lineup) is bigger than ever. Thousands of music fans will invade our newly built landing ground, curated specifically for this festival, for two days of pure bliss. We’ve invited some of the best talents across the globe to join us. Meet them below.
Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known by his stage name Diplo, is one of the most dynamic forces in music today. He’s a Philadelphia-based, but world-recognized American DJ, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He’s proven himself to be a ubiquitous cultural figure, consistently bridging high and low, mainstream and underground, with remarkable tact and reverence. Nobody in the industry has their hand in more projects than Diplo. He’s the co-creator and lead member of Major Lazer. In 2005 he created the label and event company Mad Decent to serve as a platform for showcasing the myriad of fascinating sounds Pentz encounters while touring the world. Notable artists include Dillon Francis, DJ Snake, Baauer, and Riff Raff. He’s worked on countless tracks and albums with artists such as Beyoncé, Die Antwoord, Usher, Madonna and the list goes on. Pentz had 235+ show dates under his belt in 2015 alone, and his tracks have acquired hundreds of millions of plays making him one of the most streamed artists in the industry. “Lean On” the global smash hit from Major Lazer’s June 2015 release Peace Is the Mission has garnered a host of accolades including reaching #1 at Top 40 Radio, a first for any independent label, being named Spotify’s Global Song of the Summer as well as earning the crown title of most streamed track of all time, currently with 573 million plays, making it the most successful independent song of all time.He won two Grammy’s in 2016 for “Where Are Ü Now?” and Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü, and was nominated for his work on Lemonade last year. Diplo remains the go-to producer for the who’s who of the pop music landscape.
After building up a solid buzz in the South in the early 2000s thanks to the overwhelming success of his infectious 2003 club anthem, “Icy,” featuring fellow up-and-coming Southern rapper Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane caught an attempted murder charge during a much-publicized beef with Jeezy and had to serve a year in prison. Upon his return, he released his debut album, Trap House, his stellar sophomore project, Hard To Kill, and his 2007 major label debut, Back To The Trap House, before eventually being forced to serve another year-long prison sentence. He didn’t let those moments go to waste, though. While in prison, Gucci Mane wrote rhymes constantly, stayed in touch with his Brick Squad affiliates Waka Flocka Flame and DJ Holiday and set the stage for his return by releasing an official mixtape. His 2016 collaboration with Rae Sremmurd, titled “Black Beatles”, provided Gucci Mane with his first number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.Fast forward to 2018 and Gucci Mane has since released dozens of mixtapes and has worked with artists such as Drake, Lil Wayne, Omarion, Mariah Carey and Young Thug.
At just 21 years of age, Martin Garrix has proven his uncanny ability to expertly navigate the competitive entertainment industry and has established himself as a behemoth of both the electronic and pop worlds. In 2013, at the mere age of 17, Garrix crafted, “Animals,” the song that served as his breakthrough to stardom and compelled the masses to double take and earned him worldwide recognition. The synergy between his studio and live shows is undeniable. It speaks volumes about his talent, maturity, and vision, and has propelled him to the #1 spot on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs Poll. 2016 was the year he staked his claim as more than a dance music A-lister. Indeed, dance music remains his love and focus, as was evident from his all-conquering #1 hit “In The Name Of Love” with Bebe Rexha, but Garrix’s horizons have broadened dramatically. 2016 marked the beginning of Garrix’s global deal with Sony Music International. On top of that, his own STMPD RCRDS label, launched in 2016 as an output for his original tracks and collaborations, has already begun to support and release new music from other great artists and up-and-coming talent alike. In 2017, Garrix forged new opportunities that open new realms of creativity. Tomorrowland 2017 hosted Garrix and his STMPD stage, where he took the stage as his new alias, YTRAM. He also announced his residency at Hï Ibiza, the nightlife capital of the world. Forging a phenomenal career that belies his age, in just four years, Martin Garrix has achieved what many could only have dreamed of in a lifetime. Yet for someone who has yet to slow down, one thing is for certain, Garrix is only just getting started.
Combining two art students and a derivatives trader into an all-encompassing art project was surely a novel concept. Autograf, formed by Jake Carpenter, Louis Kha, and Mikul Wing, craft a shimmery mix of futuristic electronica with a D.I.Y. ethos that melds the skills of their former day jobs. The trio put their talents together at a gallery exhibition, where Carpenter, a sculptor and painter who worked as a welder in a fabrication factory, and Wing, a street artist, created an installation that included a homemade robot. In early 2016, the trio released their debut EP, Future Soup. A handful of remixes occupied their time later that year before Autograf returned in early 2017 with a pair of singles. First to arrive was the WYNNE-assisted “Nobody Knows,” followed shortly by “You Might Be,” which featured vocals by Lils.
Bad Decisions–we all make them, but for the indie-electronic duo, Andrew Ghisoni and Cameron Breen, the choices they make act as a poetic paradox to their name, for their choices bring them success and amazing music. The up and coming Australian duo has been putting out music for just over 2 years, and in such a short amount of time, they have made some massive moves. They have 14 posted songs, ranging from remixes for The Chainsmokers and Major Lazor to the hard stuff with their track “Fuk Dat.” Triple Jdescribess their sound as a cross between Hermitude, Flume, Crankdat, Slumberjack, and What so not. With their latest original release, the duo caught the attention of STMPD Records label owner, Martin Garrix, and it landed them a spot in the STMPD circle. Now being signed to one of the fastest growing and respected labels, we expect to see big thigs to come from these two in 2018.
Beats Antique, an Oakland based group featuring Zoe Jakes, David Satori, and Sidecar Tommy, which has stumbled down the rabbit hole and emerged anew on the other side. Beats Antique forges a curious alliance between middle eastern traditions and potent west coast circus, underground hip hop, breakbeat brass band, downtempo, glitch and dubstep. Formed in 2007, the group has become known for their mix of different genres as well as their live shows, which mix samples and heavy percussions with Tribal Fusion dance and performance art. The trio, released their 10th album, Shadowbox, this past year to commemorate their tenth year as a band and they’ve mounted a larger-than-life cross-country tour that will take their vision to theaters across America. Shadowbox, an album that is an amalgamation of the history of Beats Antique, merged with a tour that will both tease and excite the senses, shows off what this band does best – transform, innovate and revolutionize what you think you know about music.
At 14-years-old, Chris Lake, already a multi-instrumentalist discovered progressive house music, and his life completely changed with the purchase of a synthesizer. His hobby became a profession shortly thereafter and he soon went from releasing much talked-about remixes to dropping dancefloor bangers. His track “Changes” broke the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay chart in 2006, while “Carry Me Away” dominated the same chart a year later. He followed those two early successes up with the Top 10 singles “Only One” and “If You Knew,” effectively breaking into the North American market. Performing for packed audiences across the globe, Ultra Music signed him in 2012 and he released his full-length debut album on Ultra Music in 2014. 2017 has been a big year for Grammy-nominated producer Chris Lake. He created his own label, Black Book Records, which the instant classic “Operator” was released on. Shortly after, him and Skrillex came out with the collaboration album of the year, HOWSLA, which hit #1 on the iTunes charts. Chris Lake taps into a singular spirit evocative of dance music’s golden age by infusing funked-out grooves and natural instrumentation into decidedly modern house. It’s a sonic aesthetic that instantly incites movement and has established him as a trailblazer in the electronic dance music world.
Electronic duo Goldfish from the Southern-most tip of Africa has gone from one of dance music’s best-kept secrets to an act tipped by industry tastemakers as the band to watch this year. Comprised of Dominic Peters and David Poole, their genre-defying mix of live instruments, house beats, and searing live performances have seen Goldfish go from impromptu jams at a tiny beach club in Cape Town to headlining Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium, cracking a top 10 on the US iTunes Dance chart, and a residency at Pacha Ibiza with David Guetta. The two guys have found themselves maintaining gruelling international tour schedule that saw them play sold-out shows from Amsterdam to Miami, from the Sydney Opera House to Sao Paulo, in-between still finding time to mix the covermount CD for DJ mag international, garnering a record-breaking 8 SAMA nominations, numerous number ones radio at home, as well as performances at Glastonbury, Sensation White, Ultra Festival Miami, 46664 and Get Loaded in the Park amongst others. With Goldfish Dom and Dave get to explore the dark depths of electronic music production more extensively and create enticing music for the masses.
Good music is felt not heard. Gramatik apparently understood that at an age of 3 according to his mother as she used to catch him glued to the radio in his older sister’s room whenever there was an old funk or rhythm & blues joint on, tapping his leg on the floor along with the beat. Peep that foreshadowing and fast forward to today and Gramatik is one of the hottest commodities in the EDM industry. In 2006, he and 2 of his friends released their debut hip-hop album as a group called 5th Element, which was critically acclaimed throughout the country as one of the best hip-hop albums in his home of Slovenia. After the album, Gramatik felt that he was limiting himself by only working within one genre while he enjoyed listening to so many of them so he started producing House, Techno, Breakbeat, Electro, Drum’n’Bass. He released his first electro track on Beatport in 2008, and the track ended up 24 on the Electro House Top 100 chart. Since then he’s continued to release outstanding hits and has found himself on the lineups of festivals across the globe such as Lightning in a Bottle, Wakarusa, Electric Forest, Camp Bisco, Wanderlust and many more.
Over the past two years, JOYRYDE, born Jonney Ford, has risen from complete unknown to one of the most buzzing acts in the industry. With support from the likes of Axwell^Ingrosso, DJ Snake, Skrillex, Major Lazer, Tchami, Martin Garrix, Dillon Francis, and more, the highway to success is paved with bass. Joyryde’s brand of #SwerveHouse is firmly expressed through his massive singles and hard-hitting beats. He’s one of those rare artists that goes against the grain but keeps it cool, strives to be different but stays true to his artistry, sounds old school and new school at the same time. JOYRYDE has crafted an entire RYDER cult, surrounded by a unique musical attitude, re-imagined car imagery and A-list support.
Sweden’s Carl Garsbo, better known as Kasbo, has been in the scene a short time now, but he’s already becoming a dominant force in the indie electronic scene. First, the 22-year-old Gothernburg-based Swede released of his a debut EP Umbrella Club, then and standout single “World Away” released on ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective, combined with a string of well-received remixes for the likes of Vance Joy, Big Gigantic and Mutemath have seen him rack up over 50 million streams in that time alone. Continued support from the likes of Billboard, Stereogum, THUMP and Stoney Roads, and invitations to tour the US with Glass Animals and ODESZA have further signaled the rapid rise of this young producer. His brand of soulful and evocative electronic music is unmatched. Kasbo’s broad range of influences is apparent as he is able to seamlessly weave between bass-heavy, synth-fueled sequences and airy, lush atmospheres. Now fresh off a fall tour with ODESZA, San Holo, and Slow Magic, Kasbo heads home to finish new music and prepare for a full Spring 2018 North American tour.
Meaning “deaf” in Finnish, Kuuro is a hard-hitting duo whose name leaves little to the imagination in regards to what genre they work within creatively. Specializing in bass and mind-numbingly hard vibes, Jordin Post and Luke Shipstad, are two produces from the Netherlands who have been putting out music together since 2015. Some of their first online releases are gritty and grimy remixes for Galantis and DJ Snake. These first tracks quickly caught the attention of influential record labels Monstercat and Bassrush, which has given this duo ample worldwide recognition and presented new opportunities. As of late, Kuuro can be found making their oceanic debut on Holy Ship this year and acquiring millions of plays and fans on Spotify. Kuuro may be new on the scene but talent trumps seniority and their rise to the top has only begun.
Jeffery Melvin, or as his fans call him, Melvv, is a Wisconsin-based EDM producer who creates light, cheerful house tracks as well as slightly duskier downtempo songs. His versatility is what makes him standout amongst the masses. He grew up in Cedarburg, a town adjacent to Milwaukee, and became interested in electronic music after seeing videos of Daft Punk’s 2007 tour. After receiving Logic 9 for Christmas, he began making music. He wrote bright, optimistic tunes in order to pull himself out of a depression and y the time he started attending college at the University of Wisconsin, he had amassed thousands of followers on SoundCloud. He began releasing singles via Yebo Music in 2015 and remixed songs by artists such as Louis the Child and Kerli in 2016. By this time, his work had become more vocal-driven and R&B-influenced. Now, Melvv can be found supporting Hippie Sabotage on their North American tour this spring as well as performing at some of the most coveted festivals like Electric Forest and In Bloom Music Fest.
Over the past few years, Minnesota, born Christian Bauhofer, has really taken off. Both his original productions and remixes are gaining great popularity on streaming sites like Soundcloud. In Minnesota productions, big influences show through from songwriters such as Mimosa, Martyparty, and Modeselektor. His first EP Panda Snatching Tycoon was released to great acclaim in early 2011 on Tycho Records, featuring three original tracks: “Push It,” “Purple Daze,” and “Twisted.” His tracks are heard in dubstep/glitch sets all over the world, including those from Bassnectar, PANTyRaid, Mimosa, MartyParty, LowRiderz, and Tokimonsta, just to name a few. One of the best things about Bauhofer is his incredible diversity in both his production and DJ sets. The future looks bright for Minnesota.
Versatility remains the key to longevity. Any artist must be able to deliver regardless of the setting, whether it’s in the studio or on stage. For Morgan Page, it doesn’t matter where he is. His number one concern is sharing quality music. As an artist, DJ, songwriter, and even radio show presenter, he continually offers a unique and undeniable perspective, evolving with the times. No matter what he’s working on, he delivers for the audience. Page has become a seismic presence at festivals such as Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, Big Day Out, and other worldwide events. Two Grammy Award nominations are credited to his name, and his 2011 full-length album, In The Air, debuted at #1 on Beatport’s “Top 100 Albums” Chart and #6 on Billboard’s Heatseeker’s Chart, while the single reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay Chart and resided in the Top 10 for a staggering 25 weeks. With all this, along with sales figures that put him over 600,000 digital track sales and YouTube views that surpass 19 million, it’s no wonder the Wynn Las Vegas tapped him for a prestigious residency in 2012 and Sirius XM gave him his very own radio show—aptly titled “In The Air.” Even with all of this, he shows absolutely no signs of stopping. As a veritable tastemaker, this trailblazer is now taking EDM to new places altogether. Welcome to the age of Morgan Page.
Oshi is London based hip-hop and electronic music producer who rose to fame after being discovered online at 16 years old. Now, at 19, he’s finding himself playing amongst some of the best in the industry. The London teen has built a reputation for his unorthodox compositions, fusing genres and eluding music theory guidelines. He first began producing in 2013 and became famous after his music was picked up online by Soulection, a prominent Los Angeles-based music collective. He’s best known for his work on Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” and Justin Bieber’s “All That Matters,” but it’s certain there are more hits on the way.
Seven Lions, born Jeff Montalvo, has always transcended musical boundaries to satisfy his creative vision. Putting technical production skill to work in soulful, deep, hybridized creations distinctly his own, the multi-talented musician bridges the gap between the soaring, ethereal vibe of trance and intensely adrenalizing bass music. He caught his musical break in 2012 with his dubstep-focused version of Above & Beyond’s “You Got to Go,” and earned support from the likes of Skrillex and his OWSLA label early on. Seven Lions, seemingly not content with the typical fashion of EDM releases, has also begun to rearrange the way tracks are released and grouped, forgoing the typical “track by track” scheme for a more thematic EP format. His debut EP Days to Come reached #2 on the iTunes Dance charts, only to be surpassed by the follow-up EP Worlds Apart that reached #1. Fast forward three years and three more EPs, and Seven Lions is still producing magnificent works of art that tell a story through impactful tracks. His productions have seen stages at world-renowned festivals such as Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival (New York and Las Vegas), Electric Forrest, Electric Zoo, South by Southwest, and HARD. From metal band member to solo industrial producer to a trance-dub trailblazer — he’s already achieved quite a diverse oeuvre. An innovative, fresh-thinking producer, Seven Lions is one to keep an eye on.
Zomboy has had an explosive few years since making the transition from his sound engineering background into full-time music production, and his dynamic rise to global recognition has been something to watch. One of the biggest names in bass, Zomboy released his debut LP The Outbreak on Never Say Die Records in 2014. Besides delivering his trademark, unflinching, brand of Dubstep, the UK-based producer also takes the opportunity to expand his musical horizons, incorporating a range of styles within his track listings. Zomboy went viral in 2016 with the game-changing single “Like A B*tch,” taken from his hotly anticipated Neon Grave EP. The track became the go-to set opener for the likes of Skrillex, DJ Snake and almost every bass DJ at Ultra 2016. Constantly developing his unique sound, Zomboy has created numerous remixes for artists such as Fedde Le Grand, DJ Fresh and Flux Pavilion, clocking millions of views on YouTube and causing an ever-increasing demand for his DJ sets across the world. The future of Zomboy will undoubtedly be that of further bass domination.
Talents like Bruno Furlan’s often manifest early and just need the ideal environment to reach their full potential. Having been at home from a very young age, he took advantage of his assets and become one of the new prodigies in the current Brazilian underground scene. In the process, he founded his own launching platform, Whistle Records, as well as emplacing his arsenal of infectious grooves by other internationally famous ones like Nurvous, CUFF, Dirtybird, This Ain’t Bristol, Animal Language, and Relief. He is persistent in the feat of surprising his peers and is constantly being praised by names like Amine Edge & Dance, Green Velvet, and Claude VonStroke. Whether he’s playing at events like the Dirtybird Campout in the USA or exploring the Australian outback, Bruno Furlan is driven by an unstoppable force.
There’s a new titan in the world of progressive house, and his name is Cristoph. He hails from Newcastle, coming from a family deeply entrenched in the art of DJing with both his father and older brother working in the industry. The mysterious producer has proven himself a bona fide force to be reckoned with landmark releases on imprints like Last Night on Earth and Bedrock. In 2016, Cristoph achieved his biggest breakthrough yet, joining Hot Since 82’s white-hot Knee Deep in Sound imprint and becoming the inaugural artist to launch the label’s ‘8-track’ album series. It wasn’t long before he became an international talent, catching the attention of Eric Prydz and opening for the Swedish legend at EPIC 5.0, even becoming a recurring staple at Prydz’s inaugural Hï Ibiza residency. Now, Cristoph has officially joined the Pryda family, becoming the first artist to sign to Prydz’s brand new imprint, Pryda Presents. It’s a definitive nod of approval from one of the scene’s most celebrated tastemakers and a surefire mark of Cristoph’s blossoming career. One can only imagine what’s next for the flourishing Newcastle artist.
Since their debut release in 2013, Eli & Fur have been perfecting a sound built around infectious melodies with deep, driving bass lines topped with their distinguished brooding vocals. Their sound has developed into something quite unique and has earned them respect from some of the biggest names in dance music. The duo’s first release, “You’re So High” reached Number 3 on Hype Machine and has since picked up over 6 million plays online. Their ‘California Love’ EP dropped in November 2015 and 2016 saw further collaborations with Erick Morillo, Tâches & Forrest as well continued releases on their own imprint NYX Music. Their touring stepped up a notch in 2016 with some key look shows, playing alongside the likes of Carl Cox at his infamous Space residency, continued support from Ushuaia’s notorious ANTS as well as support from Nic Fanciulli’s Social Festival. Last year the duo had a once in a lifetime opportunity to take over the residency room in London’s HQ & invite some of the most exciting writers & producers to collaborate with them on their first album. There is an excitement surrounding Eli & Fur that is authentic and intriguing. True talent wrapped up in a bundle of laughs, feeling their way as they go and having a damn good time on their way.
It is fair to say that, in 2016, Huxley has fully arrived. Still young but with experiences in the booth and studio well beyond his years, he has a fine array of tools at his disposal. Over the last seven plus years, the friendly character has excelled at many different styles, often ahead of the curve. He does well-swung drums as well as bass, main room house and deeper, musically accomplished offerings that stir real emotion. Proof of that lies in his varied and vital discography. Huxley has seen releases on Hypercolour, Tsuba, 20: 20 Vision, and Aus Music, which has become a regular home. Always refusing to stay in one sonic niche for too long, Huxley—whether working solo or with close friends like Sam Russo or Ethyl—switches up his sound, tries new things and colors outside the lines with every new outing. Not afraid of a big hook or slaying bassline, he is an artist who unites a variety of sounds, styles, and scenes with ease and always proves as fun as he is well informed. As a DJ, Huxley is someone as comfortable headlining a vast festival stage as he is holding down a small and sweaty basement.
Few DJs have made such a dramatic impact on the underground house and techno scene over the last few years as Lee Foss. Described by DJ Mag as “one of the most talented new forces in modern dance music today,” Lee has firmly established himself in dance music’s collective consciousness. Lee’s rapid rise to prominence has been as much down to his focused but all-encompassing approach to DJing as it has his pioneering take on nu-school house and synth-heavy techno, backed up by a string of hit releases on labels like No 19, Culprit, Wolf+Lamb and his own Hot Creations imprint.Born and raised in Chicago, the birthplace of house, Lee now lives between London and Los Angeles. Lee made his name on both sides of the Atlantic playing at clubs like Fabric London, Warung in Brazil, The Warehouse Project in Manchester, Marcy Hotel in Brooklyn, Watergate in Berlin and the list goes on. His unique sound, born out a lifelong love of classic house, 90s hip hop, 80s electro and Detroit techno, has earned him fanatical grassroots support from clubbers in both Europe and North America.
MK is responsible for creating some of the defining sounds and biggest tracks of early house. His storied background is one of long-term creative development. His roots are pure Detroit, but his early cues come from electronic-leaning UK bands like Depeche Mode, New Order, and The Cure. If you dig a little deeper, you will find that MK’s own musical path is a series seamless transitions from house to techno and hip-hop to R&B. He has worked with the biggest international artists from Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z to Rihanna and Beyonce, but has also retained near unprecedented levels of credibility within the underground dance music scene, with records such as “Burning,” “4 You,” or “Push The Feeling On” remaining staples in the wallets and boxes of house DJs the world over. Through his timeless productions, MK has influenced a new generation of producers, with the result is that his sound is more relevant today than it ever has been.
UMEK is a techno legend from Slovenia. He is personally responsible for kickstarting the electronic music scene in his home country by first organizing underground raves and then becoming one of Slovenia’s most wanted export products and number one music ambassador to the whole world. He travels to perform often, visiting almost every continent each year. His gig diary ranges from dark underground clubs in Berlin to massive techno stages on world’s most renowned festivals. Apart from making his name in the DJ booth, he’s also a tireless producer. He mostly releases on his own imprint 1605, where he often gives the opportunity to talented producers, unknown to the broader public. His signature sound, as well as his label’s production, can regularly be heard on UMEK’s widely popular weekly radio show Behind the Iron Curtain, which is now featured on more than 150 radio stations across the world.
Bristol is renowned to be a generator of exciting fresh talent in all aspects of art. The fact that the bearded booty-cuddling machine, Will Clarke, is from this part of the world is no surprise to anyone. The roots of his sound stem from both his hometown of Bristol and his seasonal home in Ibiza, which have forged Will’s style; a style that fuses the best of Bristol’s bass elements with the upfront house music sensibilities of the white isle. Will has become a very present family member in the DIRTYBIRD flock, and has released a plethora of chart-topping records. In 2015 Will started his radio show ‘The Barber Shop’ which has now had guests such as Groove Armada, Kolsch, MK, Yousef, wAFF and the list goes on. With over half a million monthly listeners across multiple platforms, Will’s Barber Shop is causing a little bit of a fuss. Will Clarke’s live DJ sets are always full of his unreleased music, edits and reworks and the fact that he played over 100 shows worldwide in his first year touring, and continues to find himself of massive lineups across the country such as Dirtybird Campout, EDC, Coachella, and Holy! Ship, proves that he is a force to be reckoned with.
Connect with Will Clarke: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud
Simply put, this lineup is out of this world (get it?), and it’s only phase one! It all goes down April 7th and 8th–don’t miss it, grab tickets here.