2014 has been an explosive year for dance music. Besides shaking the establishment of pop culture, in the forefront of everything has been the artists themselves. With a scene as large and expansive as electronic dance music, it's difficult to narrow down ALL of the talented on-the-rise artists who made their mark in the past year, so we chose to bring you 14 of our favorite breakthrough artists of 2014. All have made serious moves in their career during these months, doing all they can to push the movement and add their own unique spin on the industry's music. These artists have emerged from the underground, produced alongside seasoned tastemakers, worked on massive collaborations and created new sounds. Without further adieu, relive 2014 with us as we bring you some of our favorite breakthrough artists of this monumental year for electronic dance music.
An artist to look out for as we head straight into 2015 is Goste, a Brooklyn-based experimental electronic producer. Goste, also known as Owen Ross, is a hat trick of an artist and a multi-talented musician who is beyond proficient in producing, instrumentals and composing. For those who are fans of Mt. Kimbie, Alt-J, James Blake and Tom Waits, you are sure to fall head over heels for the work of Goste. He has been described by critics as, “one of those rare producers in experimental electronic music who adds his own vocals to tracks instead of samples.” His music and eclectic sounds transfer into “an offbeat performance, art space or any venue where people come to really listen to music.” Goste‘s new EP Eugene is mesmerizing and an escape. Listening to the 6-track release, Goste puts you inside of his music with the technicality of instrumentation and production, I could only imagine what hearing his work live is like, and look forward to the opportunity to. There’s much more to come from this electronic artist as we head into 2015.
One of EDM's most noted rises to fame has been Grammy-nominated ZHU who has taken the scene by storm with his/her unique blends of sounds creating some of the most addictive tunes of 2014. ZHU has been the talk of the town in 2014, creating a buzz by being one of the few anonymous artists in the world. Their mysterious personality and hit songs such as Faded which has been remixed by likes of Odesza and WKND is always sure to leave you wanting more. Recently, Skrillex trolled hundreds of thousands of fans with his appearance at Stereosonic Brisbane, where he pretended to be ZHU himself. ZHU is also known for his The Nightday EP which has accumulated over millions of plays on Soundcloud. While rumors may swirl on who is the mastermind behind the ZHU project, us at EPIC hope they have no plans of stopping.
Closing out day one of EDC Las Vegas at Cosmic Meadow were electronic duo, the Bixel Boys. With a sound related to experimental bass and bouncy house, the rising stars have continuously surprised fans. The Bixel Boys have also played at events such as HARD Summer, Something Wicked and Exchange LA where their mastered sets have attracted fans both new and old. What sets the Bixel Boys apart (besides their catchy tunes and breathtaking sets), is their active involvement in the community. With the support of names such as Dillon Francis, Cashmere Cat and more their #FREELIFE jersey's have been widely acquired in the electronic scene. #FREELIFE is a value of self-expression, and the profits of their jersey's are fully donated to Camp Kesem, a charity that hosts camp sessions for children whose parents are fighting cancer. While they maybe considered underdogs the Bixel Boys are definitely a force to be reckoned with.
The prodigy of Destructo and the Godfather of HARD is none other than Wax Motif, an electronic DJ and producer hailing from Australia. Wax Motif, brings something new to the table with his fresh mixes and unique blend of g-house making him one of our must-see's here at EPIC. With a unique production and carefully crafted sets, Wax Motif easily takes over the decks at any venue he plays at. He is currently working on an album with Destructo on Interscope records, which is a highly anticipated collection of sounds for 2015. Wax Motif's remixes of names such as Chromeo, DeadMau5 and even Young Thug have been played heavily at festivals, venues, and even house parties alike, creating the perfect party anthem for any occasion. While Wax Motif will be ringing in the New Year in the land down under, there is no doubt that he will be doing big things in North America in 2015.
Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber of CHERUB were just recently signed to Columbia Records this past year, and dropped their debut album Year of the Caprese in late-May, just in time for their tracks to hit everyone’s funky summer playlists. The electro-pop indie-dance duo from Nashville is here to stay and make made moves well into 2015. If you don’t know them by name, you may know CHERUB by their hit single “Doses & Mimoasas”. The catchy yet smooth track dropped in early 2014 and charted on The Hype Machine, and also gained more than a million YouTube views in a short period of time. There’s much more to come from this electro-duo as we head into 2015, and we look forward to seeing what's next!
Known for his stand-out singles “Fifteen” and “Embrace”, Goldroom‘s musical work has “transformed into a fascinating tale of modern music culture: a nostalgic romance of tropical textures and soulful rhythms”, all branching from emotive choruses and electronic ornaments. Lucky for us, Goldroom is here to stay, The electronic music artist’s debut year consisted of over 300,000 plays on Soundcloud for his single “Fifteen”, a top spot on the Hype Machine charts, features on Pitchfork, Spinner and MTV, along with multiple plays on BBC Radio 1. Goldroom‘s name and musical spirit spread wide and fast. With multiple tracks released after the success of “Fifteen”, Goldroom has received millions upon millions of plays and views of his work showcasing his profound musical talent. Huffington Post named him one of their “30 Artists About to Break” and LA Weekly profiled the multi-talented artist, calling his music “a luscious swirl of deep house, disco and electronic pop with a tropical drink umbrella poking out of it.” There is much more to come from Goldroom in the coming months, including more touring, releases, and a full-length album in the works.
New this year to the Mad Decent label is French producer Aazar. Out to pioneer a new French sound, Aazar gained early support and recognition from big-names and innovators in the business including Skrillex, DJ Snake, UZ, Alesia and more. The talented artist is looking to create a unique music sound that is both intense and unclassifiable. His music is some of the most in-your-face, heavy-hitting and aggressive electronic productions in the game. Aazar, 24 years old, produced his first track just this January in collaboration with UZ, the international icon as the king of trap music. The track “Shake” came about as the collaboration concluded, and shook the world. He even just remixed Skrillex's recent release "Dirty Vibe". The rest is history for Aazar, but one thing’s straight, he’s here to continue to bring a unique French sound to electronic music. Mad Decent promises there is a number of great things in the near future for Aazar, with “unlimited and mysterious talent.” We look forward to hearing what else the Parisian producer has in store for electronic music lovers.
AUTHOR CREDIT: AMANDA COWAN & CHEYENNE HAVENS