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.
For fans of: Fedde Le Grand, Cedric Gervais
Releases on: Hexagon Records, Spinnin’ Records, and more.
Why you should be following: “Make love in the middle of the mosh pit.” That’s a line from Diablo’s “Chain Reaction (Domino)” featuring Kriss Kriss, but it might as well be a mantra for his whole production style. His tracks are equal parts fun-loving, bangeriffic, melodic, and edgy. Everything he releases is super crisp because Don Diablo is a seasoned pro. He copped his first record contract at 15 back in 2004, and he’s been one of the Netherlands’ greatest joys ever since. So, why is he getting all this attention lately? He just launched his own label, HEXAGON, which dropped its first release at the top of this month. This is the beginning of a whole new era, where lush, complex beats come with bite, funk and plenty of staying power.
Take a spin: This collaborative remix with CID is the starting gun of HEXAGON production, so you know it has to jump right out the gate. It takes the soul-cooking style of the groovy house original and livens it up for a hopping dancefloor by bringing out the shiny bits and a general whitewash of carefree summer vibes.
From: Los Angeles
For fans of: Datsik, ƱZ, Carnage
Releases on: OWSLA, Dim Mak, Buygore
Why you should be following: Since his breakout role as Bassrush resident DJ at Exchange LA, Ghastly has been steadily moving forward with a résumé most kids would kill for. As a producer, his trademark is a mashup of all bass genres into a grimy, sludge-covered jackhammer of sound. One moment, he’s quiet and reserved; the next, your nose is bleeding. It’s this harsh but musical approach that’s garnered support from Diplo, Dillon Francis, Zeds Dead, Skrillex and more. He made waves with recent single “Crank It,” featuring Mija and Lil Jon, and bass junkies await his next major move. Also, he’s named after a ghost-type Pokémon. Argument over.
Take a spin: Ghastly goes future on his latest track, “Every Night,” now a free download care of Dim Mak’s recently reformatted New Noise vision. Mixing madness and melody, its low-end bounce pairs perfectly with midnight warehouse vibes and air-strike synth stabs. It’s playful and party-inducing, and it proves why Ghastly is leading the pack.
For fans of: Armin van Buuren, Infected Mushroom
Releases on: Armada, Black Hole, Future Sound of Egypt, and more
Why you should be following: This guy is not your average trance producer. He cuts his tracks with a razor’s edge, coming in a bit on the psy-end of the genre, fusing beaucoup rock ‘n’ roll attitude into both his original recordings and live mixes. He’s fast-paced and hard-hitting, moving the genre into new fields and leading the way. He’s garnered the adoration of Armin van Buuren, and his tracks have made the rounds on ASOT not once, not twice, but 24 times, according to his artist biography. He’s hit the road with ASOT, as well as Aly & Fila’s Future Sound of Egypt world tour. He’s getting props on Beatport, in DJ Mag, and from the peers and legends of his scene, but this is certainly only the beginning stage of his surefire build.
Take a spin: Hitting digital shelves today, “Magic Light” is a feel-good banger with enough of that Standerwick edge to keep you bouncing on your toes or driving down that long road. It sees the UK artist paired with Egyptian-born Philippe El Sisi and vocalist Ana Criado. A real journey, “Magic Light” has massive peaks and breathtaking valleys that come together in one wonderfully blood-rushing package. Get used to it, because a track this big is sure to stick around for a while.
For fans of: Major Lazer, GTA, Munchi
Releases on: Mad Decent, Barong Family, Rimbu
Why you should be following: When we say the words “tropical paradise,” the Netherlands is the last place that comes to mind. Guess no one told Wiwek to bundle up. The Dutch producer would fit right in at a Caribbean block party, or at least a Mad Decent one, which explains why Diplo was quick to release Wiwek’s first EP, Totem, in 2012. Not that his vibrant, hard-hitting sound is placed in a corner. Tiësto, Chris Lake and Dimitri Vegas have shown the producer love, proving there’s room in any party for a little violent tribalism. More than anywhere else, Wiwek fits in with his Barong Family, the band of like-minded producers collected by fellow Dutch adrenaline fiends Yellow Claw.
Take a spin: Jungleterror EP Volume 2, so new it’s still sticky, perfectly encapsulates Wiwek’s bizarre, brazen style. In fact, that’s the genre name he lends to it. It’s jumpy, it’s catchy, it’s worldly, it’s in your face. It’s perfect for festivals or the gym—any environment when energy is of the utmost importance. We don’t advise this kind of dancing on the first date, but whatever floats your boat. We’re getting hotter just talking about it.
Walker & Royce
For fans of: Danny Daze, Maceo Plex, Seth Troxler
Releases on: Nervous Records, Crosstown Rebels, Moda Black
Why you should be following: In a recent interview with London’s Fabric Nightclub, these two old buddies from Brooklyn said they approach each track from a different angle. They aren’t afraid to take risks, moving their sound in an entirely new direction with each tune. That’s what landed them bragging rights for “Sister” as a Pete Tong Essential New Tune. That’s the kind of production that gets rewarded with love from Crosstown Rebels’ Damian Lazarus, Sasha and Loco Dice. That’s the kind of passion and vision that gets you named an Essential Artist on Insomniac. Right now, they’re focusing on more originals, with some remixes here and there. Just don’t get too attached to one vibe or groove. These dudes certainly won’t.
Take a spin: “Over” is a great starting point for Walker & Royce. For one, it sees them teamed with vocalist Steven Klavier, a collaboration that already proved successful on recent hit “Follow.” It’s a song of many textures, exemplifying the duo’s broad range of tastes and influences. It features old-school house vibe synth lines, which is definitely a major player in the Walker & Royce landscape. Plus, it’s got great percussion, and percussion is basically everything.