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A Guide To Electric Zoo's Best House & Techno DJs

How to navigate the best in house and techno at the New York dance festival.
Electric Zoo 2018

The last EDM summer hurrah in New York City is coming up this Labor Day Weekend, with three days of big production, crowds and DJs on Randall’s Island. Electric Zoo looks to be pretty dominated by dubstep on side stages and potential mainstage acts also buying in. However, that doesn’t mean the underground is being left alone. The Sunday School Tent has been given the boot in favor of a more crossover-friendly stage hosted by Destructo’s All My Friends brand (Destructo is part of the executive team at LiveStyle, which owns Electric Zoo). Eric Prydz will also host his own Pryda stage, for some more melodic techno acts.

Navigating the festival grounds to find music that isn’t trying to blow your head off may be tough, but we have a quick guide on who to see and when. We recap who the house and techno acts you should make sure to see this weekend. These are some of the earlier acts on the bill because obviously you would be interested in Anti Up (Chris Lake & Chris Lorenzo) or the legend Green Velvet.

1. Walker & Royce: Friday - 8:15 – 9:30 All My Friends Stage

The Brooklyn duo will be celebrating Labor Day Weekend at home (though Brooklyn to Randall’s Island can feel long distance). Following their outstanding 2017 LP, Self Help, the pair has been putting out a steady stream of music, including collabs with Chris Lake & VNSSA. The Dirtybird mainstays know how to rock a party and will do so with their hometown in mind. If you miss them, you will be asking yourself Why Tho.

2. Ben Böhmer: Saturday 2:00 - 3:30 Pryda Arena

From seeing him perform live when he opened for Lane 8 at his Summer Gathering, Ben Böhmer understood how to transition seamlessly into the main act. Known for his live sets, Electric Zoo attendees should be looking out to at least try to see part of his performance. He's able to take it slow but also bring the energy to a level where all you want to do is dance.

3. Born Dirty: Saturday 4:00 – 5:00 All My Friends

French house producer & former member of Alesia, Born Dirty has quietly been making some of the more interesting tracks in the genre. Keeping a steady flow of singles, collabs and remixes over the past four years, he has been tipped by labels like OWSLA, Mad Decent and Insomniac Records. Using a heavy and sturdy bassline, his tracks follow a dancefloor friendly line of thought that should translate to the festival stage this weekend.

4. Cristoph: Saturday – 3:30 – 5:00 Pryda Arena

Cristoph’s career has taken a BIG step forward in the past two or three years. He  got picked up by Eric Prydz to tour with the Swedish giant and then released a record “Feel” on Pryda Presents. From there things really went bonkers, capping off in 2019 with the massive Camelphat collab “Breathe,” also on Pryda Presents. The blend of atmospheric techno and true progressive house makes his special and something you would be loth to miss this weekend.

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5. Yotto: Saturday 5:00 – 6:15 Pryda Arena

We have covered Yotto at length here and he is a frequent flyer to New York. The Anjunadeep star and now label head released his debut album Hyperfall last year and has continued to put out new music throughout 2019. Inaugurating his label Odd One Out this summer, he may have some new records from himself and others to show off as the label looks to get going for the fall and winter.

6. Dom Dolla: Saturday 6:00 - 7:00 All My Friends

If you're looking for an artist that isn't at peak popularity but still has a solid reputation of releasing great house music, Dom Dolla is the artist to see at Electric Zoo this year. He's able to maintain a consistent energy throughout his tracks that will keep you wanting to move and powering through your tired legs. His recent remix of Hayden James' "Nowhere To Go" is a little sneak peak into what you'd be getting yourself into. And we say, do it. 

7. i_o: Sunday 2:10 - 3:10 Mainstage

i_o is an artist who takes pride in their identity of being somewhat anonymous or in the dark. His techno ranges from melodic to dark, and hard and slower. You shouldn't miss an i_o set if you're looking to be brought on a little adventure of the techno genre, and we're sure you'll be dancing and fist pumping throughout the set.

8. Eli Brown: Sunday 4:00 – 5:30 All My Friends

Eli Brown has been on a tear this year with productions sprinkling across club land and the festival circuit. He has been a hot up-and-comer for the past 18 months and is ready to show New York what he is about on a big stage. You also get the added bonus of him playing before Solardo, which could lead to a cheeky B2B session for their massive track together “XTC.”

9. Eric Prydz: Friday & Saturday

Prydz is far from an underground act at this point, but this is his festival. He is headlining the main stage on Friday and has his own stage he is headlining on Saturday. He is also playing an after party on Sunday. The progressive house master is not what you normally expect on the main stage, but he knows how to manage that large a crowd. 

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