Live Music Takeover Within EDM
One of the true beauties of EDM music or just music, in general, is that it is never finished evolving. Even when you think you have seen it all, someone or something new comes along and changes everything. For traditional genres of music, there is a certain quality of live performance and creation that only talented instrumentation can provide. This is such a critical aspect of music that can be somewhat lacking within the EDM genre. Don’t get me wrong, I love EDM just as much as the next guy, which is why I believe it is so important for DJs to move away from the negative stereotype of “button-pushing,” and continually step up their game by finding ways to incorporate live music and undeniable musical talent into their sets.
Since the art of DJing is more computer and technology-based than it is instrumental, truly replicating the concept and feeling that live music presents on stage can be difficult. Understandably so. How does one simply integrate instruments into an electronically-fueled genre and stay true to the genre itself? Let’s take a look at some of who I believe are EDM music’s newest and finest examples of artists who are redefining what it means to be a DJ.
Vincent Fenton, also known by the alias French Kiwi Juice or FKJ, is an up and coming artist rising out of the Parisian electronic scene. Fenton has mastered the sound of mellow, sophisticated, and smooth electronic music. With incredibly groovy loops, classy hip-hop rhythms, funky basslines and colorful synth sounds, FKJ’s has created a sound all his own that is full of good vibes. His first EP, “The Twins” showed up in 2012 with “Time for a Change” dropping the next year. “The Take Off” EP followed in 2014, and then FKJ spent the next two years working toward the much-anticipated full-length album, French Kiwi Juice, which was released in March of this year. FKJ’s reputation has recently skyrocketed due to his exciting and original sets, but also because of the creative rhythms and improvisation that characterize his music. At just 24 years old, FKJ is a talented multi-instrumentalist who switches between each instrument in his arsenal during his performances displaying his raw musical skill. We can expect big things from this guy for sure.
Haywyre is the solo project of Martin Vogt, an electronic musician who combines his classical and jazz piano training with 21st-century electronic production. His songs have a laid-back yet adventurous feel, drawing from dubstep and glitch-hop while keeping a melodic focus. Vogt started taking piano lessons and was exposed to jazz and hip-hop at the very young age of seven. He started creating music as Haywyre in 2008 and released his debut LP titled Lotus a year later, followed by Of Mellows and Revelations in 2010, Dubsonic in 2011, and The Voyage in 2012. With many releases already under his belt, Vogt’s fame increased when he signed to EDM record label Monstercat in 2013 and then released his fifth full-length album, Two Fold, Pt. 1. However, he reached viral popularity with his cover of Michael Jackson‘s “Smooth Criminal,” and the release of Two Fold, Pt. 2 in 2016. Haywyre continues to provide his fans with music that contains variety and originality. He is bound to continue to impress listeners with his musical talent and production abilities.
New York City-based DJ, producer, and EDM musician, Dan Griffith, who performs under the alias, Gryffin, attracted major attention in 2014 and 2015 with creative musical remixes of Tove Lo‘s “Talking Body,” Maroon 5‘s “Animals,” and Years & Years‘ “Desire.” A classically trained pianist and accomplished guitar player, Griffith honed his musical abilities playing in bands while growing up. His melody-rich style of house music fuses indie with dance in a refined manner. His passion and love for musicianship and artistry shine through every performance with live instrumentation on guitar, keyboard, synths, & drum pads in a continuous dance music format to keep up the energy characteristic of DJ sets. In 2016, he released his debut single, “Heading Home.” “Whole Heart” dropped later that August, and in 2017 he released his most recent hit “Feel Good,” with West Coast DJ/producer Illenium and popular recording artist, Daya. Gryffin’s followers still anxiously await the release of a full-length album, but this gifted up and comer has already seen a tremendous amount of success in a short time.
It seems as if the next stage in EDM is the integration of music, technology, and visual performance all working together in perfect harmony to create a better all-around live music experience. Artists such as these three and other veterans like Big Gigantic, GRiZ, and Gramatik are the pioneers, ushering in a new era for the genre and exploring where their musical and instrumental talents can take them.
The possibilities are limitless!
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