Every month, Insomniac spotlights five new and exciting essential artists across all the genres that comprise the electronic music realm, from the trenches of dubstep, the deep-bass bins of house, the unifying melodies of trance, and beyond. Dive into these up-and-comers and continue your music discovery journey with the 5 Essential Artists series each and every month.
For fans of: Martin Garrix, Dada Life, Afrojack
Releases on: Spinnin’ Records, Musical Freedom, Ultra
Why he’s booming: A lot of people want to talk about how deep house is the future and the present, but then, as if on cue, an artist like MOTi comes around to blow your speakers—and your mind. The latest Dutch house import can bang out the festival anthems with as much ferocity as his peers. His talents have already earned him a collaboration with the Netherlands’ king of the hour, Martin Garrix, via their chart-topper “Virus.” There’s not much word out about MOTi yet, but we know this much: You can 100 percent expect his explosive, energetic style to worm its way into every major festival set of the upcoming year. Indeed, with MOTi around, the “big” is back.
Take a spin: MOTi’s latest offering is his chunkiest yet, and he didn’t need any help from big-name producers to get it bumpin’. “Lion (in My Head)” serves as the perfect introductory track to his budding, full-throttle catalog. We can almost guarantee you’ll be sweating by the two-minute mark.
For fans of: Nero, Pendulum, Chase & Status
Releases on: RAM Records, Ministry of Sound, Viper Recordings
Why they’re booming: Delta Heavy are two UK-based bass junkies keeping the fast-paced rhythms of drum & bass alive. Yes, the tracks are hard and dark, but there’s plenty of room for funky melodies in their studio. As Delta Heavy’s career continues to progress, the pair finds itself increasingly drawn to complex and beautiful sounds. No doubt, whenever Delta Heavy releases a full-length album, it’s sure to be groundbreaking for the genre.
For now, we make due with some incredible EPs, 2012’s Down the Rabbit Hole and this year’s Apollo. They’ve also released tons of great non-album singles and have remixed everyone from Avicii to Nero, DJ Fresh, and Rita Ora.
Take a spin: The best example of Delta Heavy’s progression comes in the form of their latest single, “Reborn.” What begins as a lush sonic landscape effortlessly descends into a raucous footwork banger. One minute, you’re singing along karaoke-style, the next you’re covered in sweat and speaking in tongues. But don’t take our word for it.
From: San Francisco, CA
For fans of: Claude VonStroke, Tiga, Amine Edge & DANCE
Releases on: dirtybird
Why she’s booming: dirtybird’s first lady of funk is no stranger to the scene, but J.Phlip’s ghetto-tech, space-booty realness still flies somewhat under the radar. Miss Phlip is the furthest thing from a “model DJ.” In the streets, her demeanor is unassuming, but when she gets behind the decks, her selection is forceful and impossible to ignore. Her ear for grooves translates into her own compositions, with hook-laden tracks that stick to your ribs.
With productions like “Say My Name” and “BKUPGRL,” it’s no wonder Claude VonStroke stole her up and made her an official member of the dirtybird family almost out the gate. Her style perfectly fits the label, yet it is diverse in scope and wholly her own. She’s got a new EP coming out soon with Huxley, so keep your eyes peeled. But as jacked as her tracks may be, the best way to enjoy J.Phlip is live in the mix; her Everybody on the Floor North American tour is going now through the end of December.
Take a spin: This is an oldie but a goodie. It just does something to our bodies. It’s got the kind of hood-fresh drums that promise, “Yes, you are a good dancer, and you should prove it. Right now.” Press play, and tell us we’re wrong.
From: San Francisco, CA
For fans of: Porter Robinson, Wave Racer, Tchami
Releases on: Fool’s Gold, Kitsuné
Why he’s booming: Sexy, trapped-out R&B music is great, and so are video game soundtracks. Put those two in a glass bowl and whip them together with some laidback Cali vibes and baking soda, and you’ve got something the kids in the streets will ask for by name.
That name is Giraffage, and although it’s kind of a silly one, his music is nothing to play with. Porter Robinson invited the San Francisco producer to open on his groundbreaking Worlds tour, and that’s just the beginning. Fool’s Gold just released his retro, funkdafied, five-song EP No Reason. Yes, it is very much everything we want to hear more of. You should, too. Catch him on his upcoming No Reason tour, kicking off January and running through February 28.
Take a spin: Go ahead and familiarize yourself with “Hello,” a cut from No Reason. We’re going to go ahead and coin this genre “dial-up R&B.” You can credit us in the future. It’s characterized by AOL-era aesthetics, sexy grooves, heavily synthesized textures, and kawaii voice samples. This intro track, “Hello,” is all of those things in one v chill, v catchy, bed-squeaky package.
From: Portadown, Ireland
For fans of: Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Cosmic Gate
Releases on: Armada Music, Black Hole Recordings, Vandit, Kearnage Recordings
Why he’s booming: You don’t often see Ireland represented on the major trance playing field, but the deceptively Swedish-sounding Sneijder is holding it down for all of the Emerald Isle. His background is in DJing, but in 2009 he took his skills to the bedroom and began producing techy trance beats of his own. He has a bright and driving sound that uplifts and keeps you going into the wee hours. It’s addictive and distinctive, a must-listen for any true trance lover.
He’s already the darling of trance legends Paul van Dyk and Armin van Buuren, having been featured on the latter’s incredibly influential ASOT mix series. Look out for his recent release “Jackknife” on Kearnage Recordings, and give a close listen to his back catalog releases on Garuda, VANDIT, Black Hole, and more.
Take a spin: For a taste of Sneijder, we recommend a remix of Orkidea’s “Purity.” The lush, large beat exemplifies his signature style. As featured on ASOT 686, it’s high-energy and in-your-face but includes just enough dynamic reprieve to keep you guessing. It’s a fan favorite, having made it to the top of the Beatport trance charts.