Ten must see rookies at Ultra Music Festival 2013
Ultra Music Festival stands alone, distant from the EDCs of the world, as the landmark event for every DJ that graces the decks of its stages. Much like how football fans have the instinctual ability to recall the stars and game changing plays of Superbowls past, electronic fans will, naturally, always remember their favorite artists, the corresponding set list and major moments from any given year at Ultra.
Headliners of the annual festival share the same glory as Superbowl MVPs, but it’s also the opportunity for dance music rookies to find their breakthrough with one everlasting set, to be remembered in the same vein as the Superbowl rookie who becomes immortalized with one historic catch. With hundreds of DJs slated to perform at Ultra this year, we take a narrow look at the members of the freshman class who are due to establish themselves under the South Beach sun this March.
10. Norin & Rad [Weekend 1, Ultra Worldwide]
Named the “Breakthrough producers/DJs of 2011” by Above & Beyond, Norin & Rad have only tasted a sliver of trance fame that their legendary admirers have earned. 2012 saw the American duo steamroll through popularity with their own podcast, The Remedy, and supporting sets for A&B across the world. Productions such as “Pistol Whip” and “Bloom” fortified their freshman aura, and they are now looking to take 2013 head on. Of all places to start climbing the dance music ladder, the duo will join Dash Berlin, Markus Schulz and others at Ultra.
9. Leroy Styles [Weekend 2, UMF Radio]
If you’re looking to check into the infamous Jacked stage at Ultra weekend two, the first glimpse of the lineup came as expected. Quintino, Shermanology, Bobby Burns, Bassjackers, Leroy — err, Leroy who? Leroy Styles is the latest rising DJ to make his way underneath Afrojack’s family umbrella. Styles presently has a production credit on Afrojack’s “As Your Friend,” but released his breakthrough original production, “KillThem,” this past summer on Sidney Samson’s Rock The Houze imprint. Sporting that uncontainable Dutch electricity, Leroy Styles will make the Jacked stage his home and Ultra his launching pad.
8. MakJ [Weekend 2, Ecovillage]
MakJ may have just caught your ears during the late winter months with his remix for Sandor Silva, “Let Go Tonight,” or his wild edit of Trinidad James’ infamous “All Gold Everything,” but the up-and-comer has something even bigger up his sleeve for this spring. How big, exactly? Closing set at Ultra Music Festival big. MakJ will be playing the Ecovillage of weekend two, following acts such as Nari & Milani and Beltek. The association with the distinct progressive flavor comes as no surprise; if you dig a bit deeper into his SoundCloud archives you’ll find edits alongside Hardwell, much like Dannic and Dyro had not too long ago.
7. Seven Lions [Weekend 1, UMF Radio]
It all began with a remix contest submission for California-native Seven Lions. After being crowned champion for his rework of Above & Beyond’s “You Got To Go,” he has taken off as an established member of Skrillex’s OWSLA squad. It was the October 2012 release of his Days To Come EP that really solidified his sound — one that diffuses genre and defies labels — before stamping his ticket to festival-status with “Isis (Deep Mix).” Is it dubstep? Is it trance? It’s Seven Lions. And he’ll be looking out upon an Ultra Music Festival crowd from the booth of OWSLA’s stage this month.
6. Dusky [Weekend 1, Bayfront Stage]
Early into their brief dance music tenure, techno duo Dusky outed one of BBC Radio 1’s greatest Essential Mixes of 2012. The pair instantly latched onto deep house success, jumping at remix duties for Justin Martin on “Ghettos & Gardens” and for Cloud 9 on “Do You Want Me Baby.” The early hype didn’t phase Dusky, however, so they followed up with the three-track Calling Me EP which put doubts to rest and had fans clamoring for more. Deep house wishes are now Dusky’s command and fans will be getting much more from these two at this year’s Ultra Music Festival.
5. Walden [Weekend 1, Ultra Worldwide]
Walden earned a spot on Dancing Astronaut’s artist to watch in 2013 list a few months back, and after stampeding through the early new year he finds himself among dance music’s most honorable neophytes once again. His “In My Mind” remix was the catalyst, but “Ciaco” and “Intropial” proved an individual, big room-inclined production ability. Arguably one of the hottest youngsters in the game, the 18-year-old shows no signs of slowing down, as he is rostered with the big dogs at Ultra this year — a long way from home in Australia.
4. The M Machine [Weekend 1, UMF Radio]
They’re not hot, they’re on fire. The M Machine dropped their debut EP only five months ago and have already found their niche with remixes of Madeon’s “The City” and Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven.” The San Franciscan electro-aficionados tred progressive sounds, soul, dubstep and more — a perfectly unique fit for their innovative imprint. Their recent EP release, Metropolis pt. II, has ears ringing and fans on their feet and after having showcased their talents at New York City’s Electric Zoo, The M Machine stand poised to deliver an unforgettable set at their Ultra Music Festival debut.
3. Danny Avila [Weekend 1, Mega Structure/Weekend 2, Main Stage]
From a tour bus with some of the most animated characters in dance music to a main stage with some of the most respected, Danny Avila is taking his short-lived career to the next level with his upcoming appearance at Ultra. This youngster will be tapping the same CDJs as the likes of Swedish House Mafia, Sander van Doorn, and Thomas Gold. It was “Breaking Your Fall” that put the 17-year-old on the map and he has taken a direct route to stardom with his own radioshow, hairstyle and, most of all, technical finesse behind the decks.
2. Disclosure [Weekends 1 & 2, Live Stage]
Trailblazing pioneers of the recent UK garage revival, Disclosure make their Ultra debut on this year’s Live Stage. With the runaway success of “White Noise,” their latest effort that took the #2 spot on the UK’s singles chart, Guy and Howard Lawrence have gone from buzz worthy to the next big thing. Not your typical USB stick and CDJ duo, this prodigious duo perform their productions with live drum machines, hardware synths, and a stage presence of those twice their age. If there is one act that every electronic music fan should see, it’s this one.
1. Baauer [Weekend 2, UMF Radio]
The commotion alone has “Harlem Shake” already roaring over Bayfront Park, but the track’s creator, Baauer, will bring the real thing to Miami in late March. The rookie genre at this year’s UMF, trap has taken the airwaves by storm in the past year, while Baauer has established himself as the movement’s unofficial flag carrier. Energetic party music at its finest, the burgeoning genre is no longer a flash in the pan but a full blown movement. With a career only months in the making, Baauer has aligned himself with Dillon Francis and Flosstradamus for an extra special Ultra debut.