Every month, Insomniac spotlights five new and exciting 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.
From: Jupiter, FL / Los Angeles
For fans of: Hardwell, Afrojack, Martin Garrix
Releases on: Megaton Records, OWSLA, Manufactured Music and more
Why you should be following: Fong is a recent college graduate, but he never had to deal with the usual post-graduation malaise or wonder what he’d do for the rest of his life. The Florida native forwent job applications and pushed full steam ahead on his music career—an easy choice when you’re supported by the biggest names in EDM. He’s released on most of the giant labels—including Spinnin’, Ultra, Mad Decent, and Skrillex’s OWSLA, one of his more frequent homes—but perhaps not for much longer. Fong just launched his own label, Banzai Records, and the first release is so fresh, it’s only a few days old. He’s quickly becoming a crowd favorite, too, having thrown down massive sets at EDC Orlando last year and more. We’re eagerly waiting to see what kinds of moves Fong and Banzai make in the coming months.
Take a spin: “Le Disco,” Fong’s latest and Banzai’s first release, is as rich in influences as it is in texture. A fresh take on the festival banger formula, it has the same build-and-drop style we’ve come to know and love, but it packs a mix of video game sounds, brostep snarls, disco beats, and even a little electro swing in its funkdafied steps. It’s kitschy and raw all at once. We’re digging the direction.
From: Washington, D.C. / Los Angeles
For fans of: Dillon Francis, Diplo, James Blake
Releases on: Plant Music, T&A Records, Ultra Music and more
Why you should be following: First of all, Dave Nada invented moombahton. It’s as simple as that. But if spawning a genre and musical movement isn’t enough for you, or even if moombahton isn’t exactly your thing, never fear. The guys—Nada and partner Matt Nordstrom—have been expanding their sounds lately. Recent releases have a decidedly deep, interstellar feel, and we are loving it. The duo’s debut self-titled album, out February 24, is soulful, exploratory and introspective. It’s full of great headphone jams and ethereal atmospheres. Nadastrom have been in the game for almost a decade, but this is just the beginning of an exciting new era. Oh, and Nada’s mom makes the best empanadas.
Take a spin: “House Shoes” features angelic vocals from Sweden’s Nina K and absolutely lush production from the D.C. heroes. It’s subtly energetic, shining through as one of the most accessible songs from the upcoming album.
From: Sydney, Australia
For fans of: Flume, Mr. Carmack, Chet Faker
Releases on: EMI Australia, Sweat It Out!
Why you should be following: Alison Wonderland is one “Cold” chick, bringing a dope mix of synth-heavy hip-hop beats laced with her own laidback, melodic vocals. Her dedication to songwriting is apparent, complementing her full-bodied productions and solidifying the Aussie artist as a total package hitmaker. Her all-encompassing takeover is imminent. She’s signed to a major label, and she’s currently working her way through the United States. Keep a lookout for her in your streets—though it surely won’t be the last time she comes around.
Take a spin: Miss Alison writes a lot of love songs, but the beats are razor-sharp. There’s something quite Karen O-esque about the unrequited screams on “I Want U,” a style most worthy of imitation. It’s effervescent and pop-ready without giving up the edge, making this a perfect first step down the rabbit hole of this producer’s catalog.
From: Los Angeles
For fans of: Above & Beyond, Cosmic Gate, Kaskade
Releases on: Anjunabeats, Mondo Records, Monster Tunes and more
Why you should be following: He might just be Above & Beyond’s favorite rising star, which essentially translates to being the crown prince of progressive trance. But it’s not just his Anjunabeats bosses who find his style alluring. He’s getting support from Avicii, Matt Zo, Armin van Buuren and Fedde Le Grand. Maybe it’s because he injects his uplifting, starry-eyed originals with whimsical edge. He lives in the gray area between soft and hard, delivering punchy beats smothered in graceful melodies. Don’t blink; his ascension through the ranks is happening fast.
Take a spin: Ross made a great step out the Anjunabeats door with his debut solo release, “Elements.” The tune is a journey through gorgeous peaks and valleys so smooth it plays like shea butter feels. It’s also as addictive. Try listening to it just once.
From: Brighton, England
For fans of: Pete Tong, Ten Walls, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
Releases on: Needwant, Moda Black, Black Butter Records and more
Why you should be following: Right from the get-go, this English bloke had big supporters in the form of Annie Mac, Pete Tong, Tiefschwarz, Aeroplane, Maceo Plex, Danny Daze and more. He broke out with 2010’s “Criticize” and hasn’t stopped churning out the hits. He’s got a killer sense of groove and handles the decks like a true house master. He spent a lot of time in the studio last year, and the fruits of his labor have ripened, ready to drop on dancefloors around the world.
Take a spin: One of three new originals released in as many days, “Fading Thought” is at once supernatural and tribal, sounding as familiar as it does futuristic. The pulsing beat and full bass booms will have any house head drooling. Make sure you listen to it with a proper system. You don’t want to miss any of the nuances.