Relentless Beat of the Week: Kuuro – ‘Omen’
February 16, 2018
February 16, 2018
Phoenix Lights is returning for the fourth year this Spring, and this time the transmission (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 musical entertainment. We’ve invited some of the best talents across the globe to join us. Meet your phase two lineup below.
Travis Scott is a Houston born hip-hop singer, songwriter, and record producer. Scott grew up in a suburb of Houston and began making music as a teenager. He formed a duo called the Graduates with Chris Holloway, and they released an EP in 2009. The following year he formed another duo, the Classmates, with OG Chess. Scott produced the duo’s two full-lengths, Buddy Rich and Cruis’n USA, and the duo broke up by the end of 2011. In 2012 Travis Scott signed his first major deal as a solo artist with Epic Records. Later that year he signed a deal with Kanye West’s GOOD Music. Scott’s first full-length project, a mixtape titled Owl Pharaoh, was self-released in May 2013. That same year he found himself a spot in XXL Magazine’s Freshman Class of 2013. This was followed by a second mixtape, Days Before Rodeo, in August 2014 which led to the March 2015 U.S. Rodeo Tour headlined by Travis Scott and supported by Young Thug and Metro Boomin and debut Rodeo album. Toward the end of that year, his single “Antidote” peaked at number 16 on the Hot 100 and became Scott’s first platinum single. His second album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, was released in September 2016 and topped the Billboard charts. Scott extended his commercial presence with featured spots on Wiz Khalifa’s “Bake Sale,” Rihanna’s “Woo,” and Kanye West’s “FML,” as well as a collaboration with Young Thug and Quavo’s “Pick Up the Phone.” Showing no signs of slowing down, Travis Scott dropped the hazy single “Butterfly Effect” in early 2017 and Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho, a collaborative project with Quavo towards the end of the year. He boasts a heavily auto-tuned half-sung/half-rapped vocal style and refers to himself as a singer rather than a rapper. He’s produced or co-produced tracks by Kanye West, Rihanna, and Drake, and he’s appeared on tracks by Jay-Z, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and numerous others.
Longtime friends and musicians, Matt and Tessa, better know as Arius, has taken the scene by storm with their invigorating take on a new wave of bass music. The two met seven years ago at EDC Las Vegas, and ever since their journey has developed organically as these artists continuously push the envelope, mastering a one of a kind flavor. Producing on the cutting edge of a novel genre that they have refined, Arius can be seen as unexpected pioneers in uncharted territory, breaking the mundane in the dubstep, riddim, and trap realms. Creating a vigorous yet unique, rugged sound, the result is absolutely staggering as every track holds a surprise from the intense buildups to the bruising drops. As innovative artists, Arius has cultivated a style that can be best described as a blistering mix of weighty progressions and piercing synths, yet infused with indie elements that create a rounded, distinct product. Each track showcases breathtaking and unexpected melodies, as several dark layers placed effortlessly make for a unique listening experience. Arius also possesses some interesting skills that have led to their success. Tessa is a skilled finger drummer as well as a professional model, while Matt is a producer and dancer. The two work wonders together as their worlds collide, breaking the traditional dance music mold, straying from the expected, and coming up with their own methods of engineering.
Hailing from Atlanta, GA, the masked menace DJ/producer duo known as ATLiens has unleashed a steady stream of dark, trance-inducing, bass-driven music – hurtling these young guns towards the top of the trap & bass music scene nation-wide and to countries far and wide. With support from the likes of Bassnectar, Jack U, Skrillex, A-Trak, DJ Snake, Zeds Dead, RL Grime, Flosstradamus, Baauer, NGHTMRE, UZ, Herobust, Jackal, Anna Lunoe, Wuki, Slumberjack and many more. Collaborations with UZ, Party Thieves, QUIX, Woolymammoth, Rickyxsan, Havok Roth, & others, ATLiens is making their presence heard and felt. And with dates on the board for North America, Australia and beyond, playing alongside the likes of Diplo, Zeds Dead, Flux Pavilion, Nero, Doctor P, HeRobust, Hucci, Anna Lunoe, Sleepy Tom, and many more. Now is the time for ATLiens to seize the moment with masked-eyes ablaze and shine!
Bear Grillz’ meteoric rise into the Pantheon of bass music legends was predicated on a philosophy of love for the scene and the necessity of always grinding as hard as you can. This philosophy netted him multiple Beatport #1’s including his massive collaborations with Datsik and Getter, “Fuck Off” and “EDM” respectively. 2016 was also a time of artistic transformation. At the start of the year, the as-yet-unidentified Bear Grillz revealed his true identity on the Jerry Springer show. Two million viewers and fans watched with amazement as he removed his iconic Bear Grillz helmet on camera. But by this time, Bear Grillz was already a global bass music brand, selling out shows in North America, South America, Australia and Europe. His notoriety only increased, and 2016 saw him booked for 12 international festivals while touring as support for Excision on his Paradox Tour. 2017 promises to be an even better, more successful year for Bear Grillz. An 8 track EP, with talent straight from the rosters of Bass Music royalty, is set to drop later this year, and a full North American tour is slated for the spring. He’s bringing his brand new custom stage design, “The Void”, with him, and, to make it rage even harder, he’s adding the sonic support of PK’s famous sound system. The name Bear Grillz has always been synonymous with face-melting, neck-breaking bass music, and his shows are always one mosh pit away from a prison riot. Don’t sleep on him–you’ll be seeing a lot more of him at a show near you
Mexican born producers and DJ’s Americo Garcia and Jorge Medina have quickly risen as one of the most anticipated new duos in the electronic space with their unique low end, heavy genre-blending sound. Boombox Cartel is made up of two mates who met in Monterrey, Mexico and now their tracks are played out all over the world by the likes of RL Grime, Diplo, Skrillex, DJ Snake and have received support from Mad Decent, Billboard, Noisey, ThisSongIsSick, Complex + many more. Their global tour has included sold-out performances in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Asia, including festival appearances at MOONRISE, Global Dance, Lollapalooza and EDC just to name a few. Over the past few years, Boombox Cartel has become one of the most identified sounds in today’s electronic scene. Their hits, “B2U,” “Aftershock,” “Supernatural,” and “Jefe” can be found in just about any set you listen to.
To Kush Fernando and Jose Guzman, co-founders of L.A. events group Brownies and Lemonade, the goal has always been the same: to throw a kick-ass party. That was the goal when they lived in Westwood and wanted an alternative to UCLA frat parties and the college neighborhood’s lame bars, and it hasn’t changed much, though the setting sure has. Back then, the party was as big as the number of people they could fit into their Strathmore Avenue apartment. For their first Brownies and Lemonade branded show of 2017, Fernando and Guzman filled Union Nightclub’s main room with more than 1,200 people. B&L is best-known for booking electronic dance music producers and DJs but has also hosted artists in a variety of genres, from hip-hop legend DJ Quik to singer-songwriter Mark Johns. Brownies and Lemonade can claim a laundry list of L.A. and U.S. debuts that includes Jai Wolf, Louis the Child, Manila Killa, Ekali, and Medasin. Fernando and Guzman decided early on that they would focus their attention on glorifying SoundCloud artists with small followings but huge talent. They’ve kept doing things that way because of a core value they both believe in: If the music is dope, it deserves to be heard. While their demeanors are different (Guzman is soft-spoken, Fernando more immediate), it’s clear how the two bonded: music, a mutual love of everything L.A., and their shared quality of open-mindedness, whether it pertains to music, people or experiences. Last year, Brownies and Lemonade turned their skeptics into believers, in large part by sticking to their roots and trusting their good taste. When many of the artists you debuted are suddenly making festival lineups and selling out 1,000-plus venues for solo shows, the bigwigs tend to get interested. Slushii, Datsik, Baauer, Skrillex, Valentino Khan, What So Not and Jas took the stage for OWSLA’s five-year anniversary party in September, which Brownies and Lemonade co-hosted with the label. But it’s less about whether they can turn down a name like Skrillex and more about the fact that Fernando and Guzman aren’t your typical L.A. promoters. In fact, they hate being called that — they prefer the term “event producers.” No matter how big B&L gets, Fernando and Guzman will always be looking to do the thing they’re best at.
Close friends Grzegorz and Wojciech have had a stellar and prolific career as the house outfit Catz ‘N Dogz. Since 2003, the Polish producers and Pets Recordings’ label owners, known for electrifying performances and catchy cuts, have achieved a stratospheric rise through the ranks of DJ hierarchy, succeeding in all their sonic missions and boasting an enviable music pedigree. Their knack for reading a crowd just right has seen them lording it on stage at some of the most prestigious festivals worldwide including SW4, Park Life, Bestival, Snowbombing, Electric Daisy Carnival and BPM. 2015 was a significantly prosperous year in their musical odyssey, thanks to their studio album Basic Colour Theory. With the likes of the legendary Green Velvet, Peter, Bjorn & John featuring as guest vocalists, this album marked a pivotal moment in their career, as traditional songwriting meets Catz ‘N Dogz’ signature infectious basslines. In early 2017 the duo debuted on the highly respected AUS Music with the Interpretations EP. Original productions, a broad selection of tracks and key remixes from Prosumer and Sebo K scored them a Faze Mag cover & 3-page interview, proving that the Polish duo still has lots to offer. As 2018 begins, the duo shows absolutely no signs of slowing down with a hotly anticipated return to Dirtybird, a 4th album planned for this year and the 3rd edition of their own Wooded festival project in Poland.
The exploration of the deeper side of techno by Dosem, since bursting onto the scene almost 10 years ago, has seen him clock up countless air miles, release a string of hit club tracks and earn accolades from many of his peers, who deem him to be one of the most influential underground Spanish DJs in the scene today. First emerging in 2008 with a number of early releases, it was his eloquently carved club hit “Silent Drop” that was released on Technasia’s label SINO in 2009 which first cemented his name into the consciousness of fans of deep and soulful club music. The coming years saw his profile flourishing with an expansive booking diary and a host of releases on a wide scope of labels including Danny Howells famed UK Label Dig Deeper and the Barcelona based Suara. But the true marker to Dosem’s potential came in 2011 when he unveiled his critically acclaim, debut album called Parallel. The immediate years following saw him drop tracks and remixes on some of the biggest labels around, making Dosem one of the key influences within the bubbling melodic techno scene. Most recent releases, from his remix of Hot Since 82’s “Planes & Trains” which reached No.1 on Beatport’s Techno charts to working his deep house magic on Umek & Mike Vale’s ‘All I Want’ – that has kept dancefloors rolling deep into 2015 and upon its release taking the #1 spot on Beatport’s deep house chart make it apparent that the demand for his productions shows.
Gerry Gonza, also known as Gerardo Arellano, got his start at an early age by learning to read, write, and play classical percussion in elementary school. The DJ hails from right here in Phoenix, where he launched his career as part of the Thee Cool Cats duo. He left the duo to begin collaborating as a solo artist with the likes of Bijou and Destructo, helping him rise to fame. His hit track, “Bad Bitches” released on Tchami’s Confession label, was released in 2016, making Gerry Gonza a name well-known in the industry. Since launching his career as a solo artist, Gonza has released several singles and a couple EPs. His 2016 Freak the Core EP featured just two songs, “Freak The Core” and “B.O.B.” Both were received well by fans, as Gonza’s hard-hitting basslines don’t hold back in these tracks He released his Back in The 90′s EP in early 2017, made up of four solid tracks: “Back in the 90’s,” “Freakin,’” “Right Now,” and an Eskuche Remix of “Freakin.’” Since then, he’s released over 10 singles, all within the span of the past year. His most recent track, “MOH,” captures the very essence of Gonza’s music: driving basslines and eclectic melodies.
Green Velvet, born Curtis Jones in Chicago, Illinois, has been a presence in the industry for over 20 years now. Before becoming a professional musician, Jones studied chemical engineering at the University of Illinois. In 1991, he left a Master’s program at UC-Berkeley to move back to Chicago, releasing his first song “Coffee Pot” on ClubHouse Records the same year. Jones started his career under the alias Cajmereunder which he released the album Too Underground For The Main Stage and a number of singles. His single “Brighter Days” with Dajae hit #2 on the Billboard Dance Charts, putting Cajmere on the map as he helped rejuvenate the Chicago house scene with his label Cajul Records. Interested in making something totally different from his Cajmere moniker and other work, Curtis created Relief as an offshoot to his Cajual records in 1993. The first Relief release was also his first Green Velvet production, 1993’s aptly titled “Velvet Tracks.” He took inspiration from superstars like David Bowie and Prince when it came to his own eccentric style. Jones is known for not only mixing up his look but mixing up his sound as well, often fluctuating between house, techno, punk, and funk beats. After performing shows under both stage names for quite some time he released his first album, Constant Chaos, in 1999. Fast forward 15 years and Green Velvet hasn’t slowed down at all. He’s continued to turn out hits, play some of the biggest stages around the world, and works with some of the best in the industry, including Claude VonStroke who he created a duo called Get Real with. The man of many names has acquired quite the following in his time, and for good reason. No matter the alias, no matter the genre, he always puts on an exceptional show.
Julio Mejia and Matt Toth are the men behind GTA who’s sets are known to be musical joyrides as they speed from trap and hip-hop into booming electro, take unexpected detours with rock and R&B, and screech to a halt for massive bass drops. Despite GTA’s wild, unpredictable sets, everything the duo does – both on stage and in the studio – is unified by a simple mission statement: death to genres. The duo’s open-mindedness is closely tied to their Miami roots, as they were exposed urban, electronic rock and Latin sounds in equal measure. Matt had started as a solo act, Van Toth, catering to the Miami scene with Latin-flavored tech house. Meanwhile, under the moniker JWLS, Mejia gained online notoriety with his trap and moombahton bootlegs. A mutual Facebook friend thought the two would hit it off, and made a virtual introduction in February 2010. They finished their first collaboration in a single sitting, and sent it off to a few labels for feedback. Much to their surprise, Toth and Mejia heard directly from Afrojack who wanted to sign the song to his Wall Recordings imprint. As they’ve promoted their genre-free ethos, Toth and Mejia have become bona fide tastemakers to fans and fellow artists alike, proving that “dance music” is best defined as whatever makes you move. GTA’s all-inclusive style is best exemplified in their “Death To Genres” mixes, which resist classification and instead go for maximum energy. Whether you prefer to say the powerhouse duo is killing genres or creating their own, one thing is clear: GTA is on a bold musical mission, and they’re taking us along for the ride.
KRANE (formerly known as KRNE) is a producer and DJ from Oakland, CA. Drawing upon his eclectic musical background and foundations in jazz, he melds his love of electronic and hip-hop beats blurring the lines between the two. Before music KRANE was employed as a product designer and he started out DJing as a hobby to let off steam from work. Initially, he got his name from picking a SoundCloud username; Krane was already taken so he decided to go with KRNE, not intending to make a career out of it, but has since blown up online. He grew to prominence through his SESSIONS mixtapes, which are a series of collaborative projects where KRANE recruits unknown producers and offer his production skills and recognition to bring them attention while concurrently learning the producing methods of his peers. His works are best at home, in the club, festivals and naturally in a pair of headphones.
Metro Boomin, born Leland Tyler Wayne, first started making beats in Parkway North High School. He was into rap and only made his own beats because he needed something to rap over. Soon Young Metro realized he enjoyed making music more than anything else and turned his full focus to that passion. Metro began his career at the age of 16, after working on his music for three years. The young artist found himself in Hip Hop, R&B and Trap genres. He tirelessly hunted down established rappers through Twitter offering them beats, often for free, and as a result, Leland met OJ da Juiceman, and the famous rapper introduced him as an upcoming songwriter, while he was still in high school. Leland than took a more professional stage name. The first part of his name came from the MetroLink as they call subway system in St. Louis. The other part was given to him by OJ. While still in high school, at the beginning of his career, Metro traveled each weekend from St. Louis to Atlanta by car to do music for big names like OJ Da Juiceman, Gucci Mane, and Future. He would later move to Atlanta and make the list of his collaborations even bigger, adding names like Ludacris, Nicki Minaj, Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa. In 2013, Metro’s name was on Billboard charts for the first time as the producer of Future’s “Karate Chop” and “Honest.” Later that year, at just 19, his first mixtape came out titled 19 & Boomin. Two more albums followed: Perfect Timing and Savage Mode. Metro was the executive producer for Drake and Future’s collaborative mixtape from 2015 titled What a Time to Be Alive. Metro Boomin was the Producer of the Year 2016 at the BET Hip Hop Awards and at the beginning of 2017, one of Metro’s songs, “Bad and Boujee” with Migos made it to number one on the hit lists. Within five years of his first output with Future, Metro Bommin amassed well over a dozen Top 20 R&B/hip-hop hits and a similar quantity of gold and platinum RIAA certifications. Among Boomin’s subsequent hits through a notable 2017 were Big Sean’s “Bounce Back,” Post Malone’s “Congratulations,” Kodak Black’s “Tunnel Vision,” and Future’s “Mask Off.” The year remained a busy one, as Metro later released a trio of collaborative mixtapes, including Perfect Timing, with Canadian rapper NAV, Without Warning with Offset and 21 Savage, and Double or Nothing with Big Sean.
Ray Volpe has jumped onto the radar of thousands with his unique way of fusing his own sound into the current trends in electronic music. With compositions ranging from 100 all the way up to 175 bpm, this kid is tearing the scene apart piece by piece. His first leap in the scene started after remixing Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ ‘Thrift Shop’, which reached millions online back in 2013. Not bound to one style, he’s constantly trying out new things and growing with each song. His first EP to be fully-powered by his own vocals, the Reality EP was the sound of an artist really starting to get into his own sound and style. Production-wise it’s as quirky, contrast-bristled and brutal as you’d expect from the man who gave us last year’s blunderbuss “Bermuda.” After crafting his own sound, he has built his own fanbase with original music and official remixes with support from various artists ranging from Excision and 12th Planet to Porter Robinson and Dillon Francis.
Julio Galvez, aka The Whooligan, is the Director of Worldwide Bookings and Partnerships for Soulection. He’s also a DJ with over 10+ years of performance experience. A global citizen – with previous residencies in San Francisco and Los Angeles, now currently residing in Brooklyn, New York – this seasoned artist, lover of music and event curator brings a unique perspective to the label through his passion, experience, and inherent positivity. Since joining Soulection in the summer of 2013, Julio has executed and managed 15+ domestic and international tours, as well as countless one-off events, reaching over 100+ countries, managing bookings for over 15+ artists and DJ’s. Julio’s relentless work ethic, insatiable curiosity for travel, and undeniable love of bringing people together has added not only to the team’s increasing growth and visibility, but more importantly, fostered a community in celebration of progressive Soul music. As a trusted source of insight and groundbreaking music for venues, clothing brands, music platforms, and businesses across the globe, Julio’s zest for life, ability to identify new music and creative culture first, has led him to collaborations with brands including MTV, VICE, Def Jam, Brooklyn Circus, Daily Paper, PUMA and more.
It was back in October 2012 after a Soulection Radio session that Esta was brought to Soulection’s attention. They landed on his Soundcloud and were immediately impressed by his catalog of production. It was this feeling that they felt as if we were behind on time musically and had been missing out on one of the most diverse artists that they had never heard of. Within no time they reached out and started working on “Gradient.” There is an undeniable presence that Esta creates within his music that will have you wanting more. “Gradient” brings sound barriers together to create a well-balanced sound that incorporates soulful and future-bass vibrations. Whether it’s high energy drum and melodic patterns or timeless vocal chops from Quadron or M.I.A., Esta manages to bring all avenues of sound together as one.
“It’s pronounced, ‘Um..’ and spelled ‘Um, Dot, Dot’. It melds with people not taking things so seriously,” said Ben with a gleam of humor in his voice. Dylan added, “Um.. is a word that’s just always… there.” Icon Collective graduates Ben Bruce and Dylan Gold are the faces behind Um.., a duo I recommend you familiarize with for the sake of your musical, comedic, and ego-ic relief. It appears that the boy’s paths were always aligned with the creation of well produced and cutting-edge beats as they are already carving out a mandala shaped niche as Um.. Dylan grew up a dedicated dub-head, donating all of his free time to the art of show seeking and attending. Eventually, the constant live music seeped into his DNA and he started mixing, and shortly thereafter, producing. Ben was first introduced to using the computer as an instrument by his biggest musical inspiration and influence, Adam Young of Port Blue and Owl City. While Ben was attending the Berklee College of Music his friend and Icon Collective graduate Sam Vogel, better known as Jauz, contacted Ben and told him he needed to be at Icon. Their fluid ‘nothing to something’ mentality is inspiring to say the least. Listeners are instantly drawn towards sounds that they have yet to hear but can’t seem to turn my ear from, and that’s exactly what ‘Um..’ is intentionally crafting in their juxtaposition of well-produced music with samples from the planet Weird. Both Ben and Dylan encompass refreshing and enlightening perspectives and practices rarely found within a dominantly ego driven industry.
Wuki is the genre-blending solo project of Denver-based producer Kris Barman. Influenced by the sounds of Detroit ghettotech and Chicago footwork scenes, Barman’s ability to seamlessly mix booty, breaks, electro, and house into hard-hitting club-shakers has become a trademark of the Wuki sound. Over the last few years, he’s developed a signature blend of crisp, heavy-hitting club sounds which seamlessly blends house, booty bass, and ghetto-tech party vibes. He’s an innovative producer we’re always stoked to hear new music from. The Mile High City resident has earned releases and remixes for notable imprints such as OWSLA, Main Course, Fool’s Gold, and Ultra, not to mention support from the likes of Knife Party, Skrillex, and Rolling Stone Magazine.
As you can see, Phoenix Lights is absolutely oozing with talent. Phase two is bringing musical excellence from across the globe in the form of house, techno, bass, trap, rap, and everything in between. Find more info and grab your tickets here.