Photo Credit: Da Black Swan
When I moved down to Los Angeles from Oregon to work in the world of electronic music, I was aware there was a solid scene for dance culture. I was aware, but what I did not know was just how strong this scene really was. I couldn't have guessed just how many producers and DJ's actually lived and operated out of LA.
I couldn't have guessed how many labels were actually based here, how many clubs there actually were, and how many events would be thrown upon me like some sort of musical hailstorm from the second I stepped foot at my first job. Within a few weeks, I started discovering just how many PR, ticketing, and management companies were based out of LA, many within a few blocks of where I worked.
Modern electronic music has been essential to the area since the early 90's when Pasquale Rotella and Gary Richards were initially throwing underground events, and more recently we have seen the city become crucial to the recent resurgence of dance music on a mainstream level with names like 12th Planet, Skrillex, Steve Aoki, and Diplo. These artists gave us SMOG, OWSLA, Dim Mak, and Mad Decent, four record labels that still influence the current scene both locally and globally.
Others like Reid Speed, AC Slater, Astronamar, Bot, RL Grime, TOKiMONSTA, Dillon Franics, Salva, and countless others helped start club nights, more labels, and styles that influenced the LA dance culture, and now the next wave of producers is pulling influence and running wild.
With this list, we hope to encapsulate what is currently happening in the Los Angeles scene. This past year have been all about different variations of house music, along with influences of future, disco, bass, techno, hip-hop, and indie dance.
We love the LA beat scene and even bass culture, but right now we want to focus on music that is getting played in the club, DJ's that are playing in these clubs, and producers that are seeking inspiration from Los Angeles and building something fresh in no specific order.
The past year has been massive for SNBRN. Dabbling in a dance-worthy sound that gears towards deeper and club influenced house stylings, he's moved away from big bootlegs and is now releasing official remixes and originals on major labels. Summer 2015 has him playing festivals like Electric Forest, Lightning In A Bottle, and Hangout Festival, keeping the good vibes flowing all year long.
While only one half of Hotel Garuda lives in Los Angeles, this alone has been enough to make an impact on the burgeoning club scene. Manila Killa holds it down in Washington D.C. while Candle Weather constantly plays unexpected sets all across the greater LA area, joining forces to create a visceral batch of groove inducing house remixes. We are still waiting on their first original, but we've heard rumors that it's going to be massive.
Dirtybird's young gun Justin Jay is still finishing up school over at USC, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming a fan favorite with his tech and deep house influenced production and mixing. The story is almost too perfect. In his first week of college, he finally heard back from his personal hero Claude VonStroke, setting the tone for his music career and helping shape the past few years of his life. Graduation is on the way, and after that we can only imagine it will be all music everything.
The story of Ghastly can best be described by one word: ghastly. His name represents his past, but also marks the beginning of a bright future that is truly just beginning. Playing in metal bands, working at his parent's goat farm in Arizona, and then living out of his van in LA while hustling to play shows and make music. The old expression "hard work pays off" is an understatement in his case, and now he's releasing music on OWSLA, Dim Mak, and Buygore while pushing a bass influenced style of house music.
Heavily associated with SNBRN, the two producers have become synonymous with playing wild B2B sets at random locations across LA. In houses, garages, big clubs, small clubs, and just about anywhere that will let them setup. The founder of Prep School Recordings and degrade.LA member alongside SNBRN, Modus, Wilks, and Colour Vision got his start with future and ghetto influenced bootlegs, but is now dropping original collaborations and releasing official remixes for artists like Carmada and Jason Burns. Catch Dr. Fresch playing at EDC Las Vegas this year, bringing medicating beats to anyone in listening range.
We know this was supposed to be 20 producers and although each member of the Athlextixx crew deserves their own individual spot, we wanted to make sure as many artists got their shine. Made up of Falcons, Hoodboi, Kittens, and Promnite, the four producers have joined forces to create their own unique aesthetic. Each one brings something different musically to the table, from the jersey club leaning stylings of Hoodboi to the more hip-hop influenced Falcons, but together it's a supergroup that is taking over wearing lots of white.
OWSLA producer Valentino Khan has been doing the damn thing for a few years now, but in 2015 he has truly taken his production game to uncharted territories. "Deep Down Low" has become a ubiquitous club and festival anthem, and more recently we have seen him release an official remix for Zeds Dead and collaborate with Flosstradamus. He's gaining worldwide recognition, but that hasn't stopped him from playing surprise sets at tucked away nightclubs. Whether he's playing to a massive crowd or just a few hundred people, Khan is guaranteed to rock it.
Heavily associated both with their cutting edge music and Free Life gear, Bixel Boys have quickly become a staple of the LA dance scene. It's become a way of life, and the mantra "we make underground tunes for big rooms" holds true with their balance between accessible and more rugged soundscapes. Take a listen to their remix of Elliphant, and you will understand what we are getting at. Their whole aesthetic is a relentless blend of art, fashion, music, and culture, effortlessly coming together to create a movement that has helped define what fellow DJ's are wearing and what clothing companies are making.
23-year-old Los Angeles resident Drezo is another producer that is unafraid to mix hard house music with influences of bass. This sound has become the building blocks for club-rattling remixes of Lil Wayne, Dr. Dre, and Tinashe, mixing hip-hop and R&B influences with big drops that will leave a dance floor moving in every direction. He's no one trick pony though, showcasing his growing talents on originals, big mixes, and from our personal experience around LA. We wouldn't be surprised at all to see Drezo working with big name producers in the near future.
Things have taken off quite rapidly for JAUZ this past year. "Feel The Volume" has seemingly been dropped by every major producer at festivals around the globe, eventually getting signed to Diplo's Mad Decent imprint. This was the track that truly exploded his career, but is just one of many essential releases from the now esteemed producer. Working with Borgore, releasing on Buygore, an official remix for Tiga, and in general honing in on a genre-defying style of house.
The start of Mija's ascension truly began to head in the right direction when she delivered a surprise sunrise set at Bonnaroo in 2014 with Skrillex. You could say the stars aligned that day, and we're damn glad they did. So far we've only heard her release a couple tracks alongside Ghastly including the Lil Jon assisted anthem "Crank It," but her ability to get a party going up at a moment's notice has held us over while we wait for more. Everyone knows the name in the LA scene, and by the end of the summer her reach will extend well beyond that.
While the musical stylings of Royal don't particularly align with the normal LA club sound, it would be a mistake to not include a producer, songwriter, and singer that is pushing the boundaries of modern pop and dance music. Whether he's collaborating with Kill Paris, Desktop, or Michael Christmas under his Royal alias, making unorthodox electronic music under the name SoySauce, or writing and producing for artists outside of the dance world like Panic! at the Disco, it's clear that this Washington D.C. native is seriously talented. He's played some smaller shows in the LA area in the past, but his true test will be his performance at Hard Summer in August.
Another artist that has never followed the traditional guidelines of the LA scene is Lazerdisk, dabbling in a more futuristic and East Asian aesthetic. But trust us, that doesn't mean they can't bring their spastic sound to the club and get people moving. Releasing music on The Nest, Mad Decent, Dim Mak, Fool's Gold are just a few of their accolades over the years, including working with the man himself Diplo. Each track brings something completely fresh to the table, so prepare yourself for a wild ride when you dive into their Soundcloud.
Getting his start back in 2012, Henry Krinkle's classic track "Stay" continues to get rinsed on a weekly basis in the LA area and beyond. Whether it's his version or the now ubiquitous Justin Martin remix, there's no denying the absolution elation that occurs when this one gets played. Since then he has continued to roll out a steady stream of remixes and originals, more recently taking on artists like Route 94, Ella Henderson, and Clean Bandit while pushing his own unique balance of house and indie dance influences.
One of three former Icon Collective students including JAUZ and Ghastly, Washington D.C. native and now LA based producer Fawks has been taking off in 2015. The resident DJ at Create jumped around between a few different names, but is now fully settled with his new identity while collaborating with Ghastly, Jayceeoh, and B-Sides, along with releases on Buygore, Firepower Records, and Dim Mak. Whether you want to call it bass house, future house, hard house, or anything else, we can tell you that Fawks is killing it with the sound, along with the occasional drum 'n' bass remix for the hell of it.
There's no pinning down AWE to any single sound, but there's one defining feature that unifies all of his productions over the years: raucous. He loves to just get insanely weird with each new song, creating a mind-boggling sound that will keep you on your toes. You could call it schizophrenic dance music, and you would not be wrong. The Team Supreme member has been doing it big in 2015, already solidifying official remixes for Jack U, Hermitude, and UZ, along with massive originals like "Top Gun" that truly shook the scene. He's also apart of Swerve Squad, so check that out too.
Balancing his time between Los Angeles and Miami, upcoming producer Madeaux has truly exploded beyond the limitations of just releasing music on Soundcloud. This is how things started, but now he's playing shows around the LA area, dropping gems in both the remix and originals department, and most importantly just signed with Fool's Gold. That means we an expect lots more original music coming his way in the near future, but for now we will continue addicting flips and remixes of artists like Drake, Keith Ape, and Swedish House Mafia. The word AUX is in his name, so you know he has that fire.
Just recently appearing on our radar, Templeton is a San Francisco transplant and member of the LA based record label LAMP. We heard his new remix of "How We Do" from The Game and "All Day" from Kanye West, an instantly knew that he would be one of the next producers from the area to start making some serious moves. Hip-hop meets melodic dance grooves, perfect for late nights at the club or cruising around on a sunny Southern California day.
Getting his start with big official remixes of Jess Glynne and Sam Smith, Le Youth is all about those disco and indie dance vibes. More recently he has been doing work on the originals front, releasing "Real" alongside a solid remix package that included the aforementioned Bixel Boys. Radiant vibes that are hard to walk away from, and he's got a knack for mixing that will have him appearing on a lot more lineups in the near future. Summer is coming, and Le Youth is ready.
Closing out this star studded list is none other than Matt DiMona, a rising name in the California dance scene that is known for bringing unrelenting vibes. We were able to catch him alongside Hotel Garuda, Dr. Fresch, and SNBRN back in January at Sound Nightclub, and it was a true precursor to what is happening in the LA scene now. He calls his style Feel Good House, and loves taking on R&B and hip-hop vocals and creating his own beauteous backdrop. This will work in the clubs, but damn will this shine once LA pool party season rolls around.