No one can answer the “Is it a banger?” question better than a booked-up DJ on the frontlines, road-testing new releases on the regular. At the end of each month, we’re tapping a handful of selectors to find out which records have been popping off the most in their sets. These are the hottest jams according to some of our dopest DJ friends. Take it from them; they know what they’re talking about.
Don Diablo has been raising hell on the dancefloor. Always dressed to kill, with fully buttoned-up tunes to match, the Dutch megastar has been on fire in both the studio and as the Hexagon label boss. His recent Dave Thomas-assisted display of smoothness, “Silence,” is a testament to his strength at cramming deep and dramatic moods into festival-fillers. The accompanying visual has already racked up a cool 2-million plays since debuting mid-April, which is a marvelous move on his part of achieving his beauty-and-brains musicianship on-screen. You’ll definitely want to park yourself right in the splash zone when he drenches kineticFIELD with his diabolical, melody-rich house.
Don Diablo “Silence”
With “Silence,” I wanted to sling things into a different direction. I wanted this record to reflect my state of mind outside of the clubs and the dancefloors—for those more intimate moments in life. I have a special VIP mix that I play in my own sets, but you’ll have to come to one of my shows to hear it. 🙂
Been playing this one in most of my sets lately, and it’s an absolute dancefloor banger. Love what Dombresky has been doing lately.
King Arthur & TRM “Talking About Love”
Brand-new release on my Hexagon label that is currently making waves online. It’s a summer anthem with a hook that will be stuck in your head for a while.
Tritonal “Blackout” (Madison Mars Remix)
Killer remix by Madison Mars, one of my first signings on Hexagon. Big things are on the way for Madison, including a four-track debut EP on my label, so stay tuned!
Flume ft. Tove Lo “Say it”
Big fan of all things Flume. Everything he does is very on point and always sounds very tasteful on all levels. This record with Tove Lo is no exception.
While many of the tenants of trance have recently waved the white flag in exchange for top-dollar, big-room business, John O’Callaghan has always stuck to his guns. An innovator by its very definition, the Irishman is untouchable due to his unwavering commitment to keeping the genre free from the pollutions of pandering to the masses. Tech and uplifting are his specialty, with a slew of pseudonyms at his disposal to ensure he always has a side option to spice up his discog. Either through his scene-defining sets or the sign-offs on his Subculture imprint, you can always count on JOC to push trance toward the promised land. That’s why he has been hand-chosen by our Dreamstate crew to bust out all the feel during his circuitGROUNDS performance later this month.
Joint Operations Centre “Goodnight Irene” [Kearnage]
I always search for standout tracks for my sets—tracks that are not the run-of-the-mill trance. Lately there has been a kind of gap in the tech sound, so I made this track for a darker section of my sets, focused on groove and beats. Works every time.
Maria Healy “Kingfisher” [Subculture]
One of those melancholic melodies that gets stuck in your head. We are happy to have this right tune on Subculture. This one really goes down well with a purist trance crowd and has received lots of support on ASOT.
Gareth Emery ft. Wayward Daughter “Reckless” (Standerwick remix) [Garuda]
My personal fav tune of Ian’s lately; this remix is outstanding. When it comes to all the things a good vocal tune should and can have, Ian has knocked it out of the park here. Great trance remix. I’m sorry I’m reckless!
Paul Denton “Searching the Sky” [Subculture]
Another gem of a tune I signed earlier in 2016 but is still a feature in my sets. A real Balearic breakdown with a giant build, the melody is also spine-tingling. Recommended in a big way.
Bryan Kearney & Will Atkinson “The Game Changer” [Kearnage]
Tech meets melody, in the best possible way. I love the breakdown of this track the best, and I hear there is a fantastic remix due soon also. Two of my fav producers. Check it out.
It’s nearly impossible to wipe the squishy, teeth-grinding look off your face whenever TrollPhace is on party patrol. With bombastic bass hairier than the beard he sports nonstop, the ATL man of myth has been tearing it up with the foulest soundtrack pulled straight from your darkest fantasy. With work done for all the big guns like OWSLA, Firepower, Smog and more, it’s safe to say Troll has been handling his. Don’t get caught slippin’, and make sure to hit up his set when Bassrush brings out the best low-end names in the game to NYC this month.
Barely Alive “Poison Dart” (BUSTED by HeRobust)
In my opinion, the release to end all releases this month was the Barely Alive remix package. Featuring a slew of insane artists remixing some pretty crazy originals, it had variety and pizazz up the ass. That being said, this remix was my favorite. HeRobust has been smashing shit for a while now, making some of the most unique and hard-hitting shit I’ve ever heard, and every release impresses me more and more with him.
Barely Alive “Elephant” (Funtcase Remix)
The legend Funtcase doing his usual Funtcase thing and just shittin’ on everyone in the balls-out, hard af side of electronic music. Funtcase brings his classic growls from hell in with his new death-carnival festive-feeling feels that makes your head wanna explode like that dude in Scanners. But just when you think it’s over, there’s an epic breakdown of war horns and drums into a siren tornado of hype. Next-level shit.
Barely Alive ft. Armanni Reign “Hackers” (Trampa Remix)
My boy Trampa comin’ in with the heat on this remix off that EP as well. The only way I can describe this tune is like getting hit with a Hadouken followed by a jackhammer. I like that shit. You should like it, too.
Trampa had a killer EP drop in April, and this is the title track off that nasty bish. This is one of those tunes that just gets you goin’—gets you pumped—you know, just gets you head-banging. Using negative space like a pro, Trampa gets you rockin’ in that unique swing + brutal = bounce kinda way with this one.
RL Grime “Aurora” (NGHTMRE Remix)
NGHTMRE flexing his skills pretty hard in this one. The drop on this song took me by surprise, and it just entrances you in this epic “feels like you’re floating toward the light” kinda feel. This track plays out like a journey more than a song; it’s an experience. I love that about these kinds of tracks. You feel different after the song is over. Feels, bro… feels.
The swarms of with-it festivalgoers so eager to rep their #FREELIFE line—a charity-tied brand developed by masterminds Robert and Ian—should speak volumes about the weight the Bixel Boys hold in the modern house ecosystem. Although it was a bold move to step out in front with a term they coined as “big room underground” (one that could have very well bitten them in the ass), it helped turn two bright-eyed Angelinos into one of the fastest-rising acts on the market. They’ve got the deep and brooding vibes on lock and will be wearing out the speakers with their work once they swing into New York in a quick couple of weeks.
DJ Zinc “Jackal”
Legend track from one of our favorite DJ/producers of all time. This track will get any room going off in no time.
Gorgon City “Blue Parrot”
This is an absolute destroyer—a slight departure from some of the recent Gorgon stuff, but this has all the makings of a classic that we’ll probably be playing for a long time.
Justin Martin “Hello Clouds”
This is one of those amazing albums you can just put on loop in the background of your everyday life and never get bored of it. Much like the rest of the album, this track flows so effortlessly. Take a trip to the clouds and say hello with this classic.
Manila Killa ft. Joni Fatora “All That’s Left” (The M Machine Remix)
It’s hard to describe this mix in any other way than “awe-inspiring.” It’s an absolute journey of sonic storytelling. We could listen to this all day.
Missy Elliott ft. Pharrell Williams “WTF (Where They From)” (Chris Lake Remix)
It’s a Chris Lake remix, meaning you can’t go wrong with it. The bouncy bass in the drops goes off from small rooms to festival stages. Perfect DJ weapon—not to mention a Missy vocal!
It should be blatantly obvious by now that we have a thing for No Mana. We don’t just hand out our Essential Artists approvals, and he was picked up as one of five from April. Although he prefers to remain anonymous (which only dials up our curiosity), the outpour of game-changing bits is hard to ignore. It was good enough to catch the interest of the impossible-to-impress deadmau5, who ended up giving the player from Los Angeles the time of day on his mau5trap records imprint. If you’re still not sold yet, run through his five favorites from April, and then you should be fully invested in seeing him rip it up with the Audiotistic peeps.
Manila Killa ft. Joni Fatora “All That’s Left” (The M Machine Remix)
I’m a sucker for house that doesn’t fall under the sound that everyone’s chasing after these days, so every once in a while, I catch myself going to the M Machine to refresh myself yet still feel in the circle of electronic music. The structure of this track is so unique, especially the hypnotic instrumental progression in between the vocals. Take a listen; you’ll hear what I’m talking about.
Imogen Heap “Run-Time” (Matt Lange Remix)
Always loved the details and smooth atmosphere coming from Matt. Him and Imogen are two of my most highly praised artists in the game, and that fact alone speaks for my excitement to feature them here.
Icarus ft. Aurora “Home” (Dave Dresden Remix)
Someone special showed me Gabriel & Dresden a while ago, and their music has played a big part of my story with her. We started listening to them through their THE FEELS mixes that they upload once a month. Huge fan of the simplistic and atmospheric sound they’re going after, and a very melodic and emotional one, indeed. This track is definitely one of them.
What So Not & GANZ ft. JOY. “Lone”
GANZ is someone I’ve been watching for a year or two now. He caught my eye out of all the other producers that I’d place under the whole future/hip-hop movement (including those jumping on the whole large, Flume-chords sound). What puts him out there is that he has a sort of distinct flow/dynamic and sound choice to his music, and his melodies are always on point. Love how organic this track sounds, as this is something I’d expect well from both producers. Well done, and great vocals!
When I saw this guy live at the Echo in L.A., it pretty much changed my perspective on music performance. I’m so used to seeing DJs, but he came on with a drum machine, a keyboard and two CDJs; he sang, as well. Although the majority of the sounds are all electronic, everything between the melodies and the arrangement felt so natural and human-like.