Dancing Astronaut’s guide to Ultra 2014: Next level breakthroughs waiting to unfold27130 572113612833595 359060113 N

Dancing Astronaut’s guide to Ultra 2014: Next level breakthroughs waiting to unfold

Dancing Astronaut's guide to Ultra 2014: Next level breakthroughs waiting to unfold

Yes, Ultra is the premier electronic music festival in North America. Yes, it brings the most celebrated week in dance music to Miami. But the greatest significance of the annual three-day event in March isn’t seen from the surface. It’s intangible. It’s the reason the EDM community love it, the reason the artists love it, and the reason festivals have become associated with special moments. Ultra is a launch pad.
Sure, it’s a platform for newer artists to establish a name or for headliners to promote new music. But its greatest strength and most unmatched element is found somewhere in the middle that can’t be spotted in March, probably not in April, nor in May nor June, but months later when the dust settles on festival season. The launch pad that is Ultra gives artists the opportunity to break through the next level — something rarely found in a music sphere where artists are more likely to plateau than to explode.
Recent benefactors are artists such as Hardwell, who’d been a top-tier DJ before Ultra 2013 paved the path that’d lead him to the number one spot. Even artists such as Avicii, whose mass popularity would’ve lead many to believe in slim margin of growth, found room to be magnified at the festival, the only one where that could’ve been proved untrue. They don’t have to be your no-names gaining buzz or titans grasping for lateral traction — at Ultra Music Festival, once a year, an avenue of opportunity arises for all artists to make an unforeseen stride out of 90 minutes.


Formerly: Ascending from promising to prominent with a flick of the DOORN switch, DVBBS finds themselves in the right place at the right time, riding their hot streak of “Tsunami” through Miami. The duo recently embarked on a tour of North America that, in nature of its smaller venues, should’ve been low key, but resulted in the turn out and buzz that trumped expectations.

UMF Breakthrough: On the same run, the boys are crossing the pond and taking their tour international — but that may be one of the last times they’ll have to squeeze their grand-scale energized live act into a club sized fitting. DVBB’s tour — and also likely, their career — will magnify tenfold on March 28th. Their set at the UMF Radio stage is one that will have a surprising attendance for its early afternoon slotting, and in taking to Ultra on its opening day, the hype seeping from their recent surge will spill into the most elusive of grounds for showcasing in dance.


FormerlyIn this season’s lot of sleepers, few are sneaking up like Blasterjaxx. Most artists on the climb are making their impact with a sense of bubbling popularity, where bigger splashes are made before the real waves. Blasterjaxx, however, are making ripples — and plenty of them. More subtly stealing popularity, the duo have been coming in at all angles with releases from Hardwell, Armin van Buuren, and Sander van Doorn in subsequent months.

UMF Breakthrough: Blasterjaxx’s well-paced trajectory is now culminating and catching up with those who took off upon a sprint. In fact, the marathon approach has worked to their advantage; with festival season nearing, curiosity is in their corner. With such masses catching wind of this DJ tandem, they’ve earned a place on Ultra’s main stage, where it’ll push Blasterjaxx through the bunches of familiar names and into a tighter sphere of accepted ones.


FormerlyTJR has been around. Oh boy, has he been around (don’t worry about missing the two-year anniversary of “Funky Vodka” last month). Immediately carving out a niche upon producing some of the bounciest electronic music not from Melbourne, he’s attracted all of the communities’ ears since. While he’s danced around the dangers of being typecasted to his sound, such notable production has made for a strength that, naturally, would shape a steep hill in matching.

UMF Breakthrough: Climbing that hill, though, would mean his live act being at eye level with his studio reputation. And, by such, would make him one of the more in-demand dance billings. Now off of a remarkable year, and showing signs of another with an impending Benji Madden collaboration, the chips are falling in the right place for TJR to make his greatest stride yet. With an Ultra appearance on closing day, with its fullest house, he’ll bring his breed to live action for a hungry fan base to latch onto bragging rights of TJR at UMF Korea.


FormerlyEssentially coming into his own electronic artist as an Ultra Music Festival rookie in 2013, MAKJ had first started from scratch and has continued pounding the pavement with that from-the-ground-up attitude since. One to gift productions generously and build a following with frequent free downloads and dispersed support from Hysteria Records, MAKJ’s freshman dues are considerably paid off.

UMF Breakthrough: Without skipping a proper motion over the course of the last calendar year, his next round at Miami Music Week is shaping up to be an amplified version of his last. Entering March, MAKJ has promising projects for both his producer and performer appeals. Nearly coinciding is his upcoming Lil’ Jon collaboration, “Let’s Get F*cked Up,” which will see similar success to DJ Snake’s “Turn Down For What” (even if it trends half as heavily), and his sophomore Ultra Music Festival appearance. Both are ticking time bombs that are sure to explode this month. Both will be ignited by his UMF presence, also sparking his bigger picture.

DJ Snake

FormerlyAs the most stared down newcomer of the year, DJ Snake has already leaped twelve months of hurdles in only two. Excelling under pressure before it even became the sort of hard-pressing weight dance fans often turn it into, Snake’s already received Pete Tong approval with an Essential Mix under his belt, along with the adoration from followings of collaborators Dillon Francis and Diplo.

UMF Breakthrough: Equipped with the proper production repertoire for stardom, he’s shown his face sparingly with rare major city appearances. And though his live presentation remains semi-mysterious, it’s expected that he’ll make that game appear as nonchalant as he’s made his talents seem thus far. International broadcasts make DJ Snake’s name instantly recognizable, and he’s prepped to do the same favor for his status behind the decks with an unveiling in the most grand of fashions when he takes his well-deserved evening time slot at Ultra’s day two.   

Cedric Gervais

FormerlyHe’d been well established before 2012’s controversially popular “Molly,” and those well-rooted ties to dance music made it so that a simple hook or hit wouldn’t define his career for much longer than a summer. The world now widely knows Cedric Gervais as the Grammy winning remixer of Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness,” but he’d have Miami’s hometown loyalty way before scoring gold. Involved with dance music for the better end of 15 years, Gervais has deflected any recent stigmas brought on by EDM culture to remain original.

UMF Breakthrough: As he’s always done, he’ll continue to be a force of Miami’s dance landscape; spreading his wealth across South Beach in addition to an expanding market for touring. But, without choice, Gervais will be propelled — and in more directions than one. For starters, his mega one-for-one on remix duties elongates with perhaps another push toward the Grammys as his work for Miley Cyrus begins to take off. Thus, the campaign that wasn’t will come full circle. With a prime time set at Ultra this year, Cedric’s Miami following will continue to gravitate — only now to be joined by the rest of the world.

New World Punx

FormerlyTwo can pair up to enter the lion’s den that is electronic dance music’s unforeseen and often unpredictable following. Few are actually trained to do so in the first place. In the case of New World Punx, Markus Schulz and Ferry Corsten have the most unbreakable of bedrocks to unite for a side project. Each with well-storied careers, that platform is as solid as the trending super-duo concept has seen, already tested and proven with packed venues at the largest of which will host a DJ, including a swift sell-out of Roseland Ballroom.

UMF Breakthrough: The two-for-one side-project endeavor has proved successful for those who’ve swung at it wisely, but it raises a question for even the best. That is; with solo careers also in focus how temporary, permanent, or consistent will a tag team be? Some join to release music together on rare occasions, others limit the attraction to live events. If anyone was wondering how Markus and Ferry would go about their relatively new partnership, they could find the answer this month when New World Punx invades ASOT 650 at Ultra Music Festival.


FormerlyHow? When? Why? Where? There’s nothing traditional or orthodox that could explain Carnage’s 365-day uprising… other than his untraditional charisma or unorthodox personality. He’s worked up a cult following all with his ones, twos, and public fondness of Chipotle. It’s the kind of cult following that festival attractions should salivate over; the kind so mysteriously fast-rising yet sharp that evoke the hows, whens, whys, and wheres; the kind of which its only certainty is a dangerous concoction brewing, guaranteed to do damage.

UMF Breakthrough: It’s been brewing since last March, and its wrath will be felt this March. Focus has been less on the music he releases (although he claims to be stacking an album full of it) than it has been on the aforementioned charisma and personality, as he’s paired it with interaction in such a way that it’s made for a bizarre form of charm and an unprecedented artist-to-fan relationship. Ultra 2014 is faced with a fact, and there’s no way around it; Carnage will be the most whispered about artist on day one before he set, the most buzzed about during the days following, and as threatening to Chipotle’s guacamole depletion as climate change.


FormerlyThere aren’t many more steps to the top for W&W. The duo balance some of the most praised music and shows in not one, but two dominant genres. The first being trance, where they’ve come as close to Armin van Buuren allure as his jesus pose wingspan. The second only being the most attractive (hate it or love it) in electronic culture, the one that owns the main stages. They’re inarguably headliners. Hell, if there were ever a tier of festival attractions between first and second, it’d be because their names are Willem and Wardt, not Tiësto and David Guetta.

UMF Breakthrough: About those Tiësto and David Guetta guys, festivals of Ultra’s magnitude wouldn’t be possible without them. They are, without question, the top tier of headliners. But that won’t last forever. There will be DJs empowered enough to draw that sort of attention from millions rather than hundreds of thousands, and as of now you can count them on one hand. They’re not there yet, but they’re knocking. W&W being the latest to the door, and they’ll be knocking the loudest during day two’s daylight of Ultra Music Festival. More simply put, they’re a Hardwell waiting to happen.

Martin Garrix

FormerlyWhere the youth demands changes and raises standards, it means a strong future for all. So when Martin Garrix released “Animals” only one month and three days after his 17th birthday, with it becoming so instantly inescapable that it’s drawn the “Levels” haters out of hiding, the new heights that he’d bring electronic music (and the fact that he’d be the one to be doing so) make for the genre’s most intriguing story, and still would if Daft Punk won a sixth Grammy.

UMF Breakthrough: Last year he was a visitor to Bayfront Park, mingling with soon-to-be peers. Everyone from the top of the food chain to the bottom took a liking to the then-16 year old with just a few releases to call his own. Little did they, he, or anyone know how the table would be rearranged; how Martin would be joining the platinum caliber attractions at Ultra Music Festival in 2014; how it’d be more of a sure-thing than a prophecy that stardom will be born if not found during his upcoming debut. For those who foolishly mistake Garrix’s landslide success story for anything other than a promising future and elongated life span for electronic music, ask Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, or Carl Cox where they were at age 17. Ask Pete Tong, Richie Hawtin, ask those guys in the robot helmets if need be. They couldn’t have dreamt of being where Martin Garrix will be at 5pm on March 29th.

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