Every month, Insomniac spotlights five 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 musical geniuses, and continue your music discovery journey with the 5 Essential Artists series each and every month.
From: Paris, France
For fans of: Oliver, Flume, Duke Dumont, Claude VonStroke
Releases on: Spinnin’ Records, Fool’s Gold, SPRS
Why he’s booming: Maybe he’s got a funny name, but this Frenchman’s productions are no joke. Since breaking out in 2013, Tchami has been a most-beloved name on the lips of underground house heads, and we’re very excited to see him getting more mainstream love.
His signature style pits deep, ethereal house melodies against punchy, two-step rhythms for a feel that’s thoughtful and introspective, while it simultaneously forces you onto the dancefloor. He brings a distinctly dark, French edge to the UK deep house vibe. Tchami is best known for his lively remixes of AlunaGeorge, Martin Garrix, Janet Jackson and more, but his originals are equally deserving of your attention. Check out his two-song EP Promesses via Fool’s Gold for some straight-up brilliant future house groove. Our only complaint about Tchami is that he doesn’t release music more often.
Take a spin: It may not be wholly an original, but listening to Tchami’s remix of “You Know You Like It” from AlunaGeorge will have you question which version is better. It’s all about the dirty synths on the breakdown, but the perfect Tchami drums are what keep the song moving from start to finish. If we made our bestie a #FutureHouse primer mixtape, this song would be track #1.
For fans of: Eats Everything, Justin Martin, Brodinski, Daft Punk, Worthy
Releases on: dirtybird, Turbo Recordings, Food Music, Pets Recordings, Hypercolour, Symbols Recordings
Why he’s booming: We once spoke to dirtybird label master Claude VonStroke about the success of his label, and he said the remarkable response to Kill Frenzy’s “Booty Clap” reinvigorated every producer in the flock. The self-proclaimed booty gangsta’s mix of sultry groove and hip-twerking bass sets him up as the perfect late-night snack for the turn-up generation.
He follows the initial success of singles “Booty Clap,” “Black Girl/White Girl,” “Go to the Mo,” “Naked Piano,” and more with his cleverly titled debut album Taylr Swft. It’s a strong, 11-track release of new original material. It stays true to the ghetto tech-y vibe that made him famous, but continues to build his style. It’s got the kind of great repetition you find on Daft Punk’s Homework and all the space-age freakiness that made us fall in love with everyone from the dirtybird family. Definitely a must-have for any music fan.
Take a spin: We first got a taste of Taylr Swft in September, and the single “All Night Long” had us obsessed. With a subtle hook and a haunting vocal sample, the premiere album single shows off the artist’s maturity while retaining his signature funk. He’s come a long way from “Booty Clap,” but it’s still just the beginning.
From: Montreal, Canada
For fans of: Steve Aoki, Crookers, the Chainsmokers, Bloody Beetroots
Releases on: Dim Mak, Ultra Music, mau5trap, Mad Decent, Main Course, Party Like Us
Why they’re booming: Fidget is not dead—not as long as artists like Botnek bring the crazy with this much mainstream appeal. The duo’s remix of “#SELFIE” garnered them a lot of attention, but their original material is just as bounce-worthy.
Botnek got the chance of a lifetime when they won a Steve Aoki remix contest. After showing the Dim Mak maestro what they could do on tour in 2013, they were snatched up and added to the official label roster. They’ve continued to heat up with remixes for big names all over the music spectrum, proving they can put a quirky, head-bangin’ spin on Martin Garrix just as well as Mat Zo, Porter Robinson, and OG fidget god Crookers. This past year has been huge for the boys. Definitely watch out for more big things to come.
Take a spin: This original really highlights Botnek’s ability to take the standard electro house formula and turn it on its head. The duo match the giant build and drop with a soulful vocal sample and a dirty synth line unlike anything we’ve heard before. It’s raw, edgy, and hard to get out of your head.
From: Houston, Texas/Berlin, Germany
For fans of: Datsik, Porter Robinson, Kill the Noise, Mat Zo
Releases on: OWSLA, Rottun Recordings, Never Say Die, Firepower, Play Me
Why he’s booming: Who wouldn’t love a guy who describes his music as “kawaii as fuck”? He’s totally right, though, because his dubstep comes packed with lighthearted melodies and tons of cheesy-but-good anime inspiration. MUST DIE! makes seriously good music that can’t be taken too seriously, and that’s exactly what he’s going for.
While the OWSLA signee came up in the American dubstep/brostep tradition much like his peers, MUST DIE! has pushed himself to incorporate more styles, emotions, and sounds into his music. With a background in metal bands and even pop music, his influences are wide, strange, and beautifully expressed in his dance tracks. This past year has been one of his most expressive as an artist. His 10-track release Death & Magic perfectly captures the producer’s dichotomous nature, perfectly blending the cute and gnarly elements that make MUST DIE! an essential artist of the month.
Take a spin: Definitely give Death & Magic a full listen, but single “Gem Shards” is a perfect introduction to the producer’s fresh perspective. It’s bass music for sure, and chock-full of rock-influenced echoes of brostep, but it also brings a lively house vibe you don’t often find in bass music this big.
Amine Edge & DANCE
From: Marseille, France
For fans of: Claude VonStroke, Boys Noize, A-Trak, Destructo
Releases on: Homes Art Music, Versutile, CUFF
Why they’re booming: Marseille is the hip-hop capital of France, but we all know France does dance music in a truly incredible way. It shouldn’t be surprising that Amine Edge & DANCE, with their exciting blend of house and rap, are one of the hottest underground acts in the game.
With more dance music artists bridging the gap between the two genres and pairing themselves with MCs, Amine Edge & DANCE’s take on G-house offers a less pop, more snarly alternative. They broke out with “Going to Heaven With the Goodie-Goodies” in 2012, which featured a sample of the Notorious B.I.G. HARD father Destructo immediately fell in love and took the pair under his wing, hooking them up with gigs aboard Holy Ship!!! and all over his HARD brand lineups. They’ve sat at a steady boil in the States ever since and should be an important new staple in your SoundCloud repertoire.
Take a spin: “Boss Ass Bitch” is everything we love about Amine Edge & DANCE. It’s perfect for the lean-back, the pimp walk, the curb-hug, and all things gangsta. They have the kind of vibe that makes you forget dance music and hip-hop ever bothered to be two different genres.