Dancing Astronaut’s Artists to Watch in 2020
2019 has been an undeniably remarkable year for electronic music, but what will the next decade bring? The Dancing Astronaut team has its fingers on the pulse of the coming months—notably artists who saw an immense upward trajectory in 2019 and are primed for a big 2020. These artists aren’t necessarily freshman newcomers, but rather established artists to keep a close eye on next year. In no particular order, we present our Artists to Watch in 2020 list.
Subtronics had an impressive 2019, boasting a side to bass music unique unto the cyclops army general himself through catchy fills, grotesque sound design, scintillating syncopation, and provoking dubstep arrangements. Known off-stage as Jesse Kardon, the Philadelphia producer rounded the year with a certified viral, festival hit with “Griztronics,” a collaboration with dance music’s lovable, sax-touting, electro-funk Michigander, GRiZ.
Aside from the bigger font size on lineup cards, the sound slinger boasted numerous grade-A collaborations from touted veterans such as Ganja White Night on their “Headband” offer and Rusko with “Bounce.” Other partnerships included the visually appealing “SNAILCLOPS” with Snails and the menacing “Step Aside” with “Midnight Tyrannosaurus.” After success on the festival and streaming stage, the up-and-coming engineer unleashed a furry of audio with his Wooked On Tronics.
Finishing off 2019, the friendly creator is rounding out the year with a Kayzon collaboration, “BRAINCASE.” He of course also has a Zeds Dead collaboration. Get prepared for a thrashing 2020 that can only bring more carnage, because he’s not stopping or slowing down anytime soon.
G-house, tech-house, nu-disco, hip-hop, Wax Motif can sweep it all up in a song with a flick of his wrist. The longtime scene staple has experienced nothing like a shortage on the original release front over the years. But it wasn’t until 2019 that he unrolled official album plans.
And what a rollout it was.
The first single to usher in the impending album, poised for a 2020 release, also stood as the first single shared via Wax’s newly minted self-started record label of the same name, Divided Souls. “Divided Souls,” a proper modern-day tech-house stomper, ups the ante for G-house fanatics, featuring a sermon-like vocal cut from the preeminent Diddy—yes, that Diddy. Most recently Wax shared, “Lose Control,” featuring the swiftly ascending Matroda, and sampling the late great Missy Elliot, for a dynamic update to an iconic early 2000s dance floor display.
2020 has plenty of promising developments on the Waxy horizon, between his album plans, new Divided Souls releases, his prolific touring track record, and expected activity from his House of Wax mix series.
For Ben Böhmer, there might inexplicably be no better way to cap off the year than with his debut album. Delivering the awe-inspiring Breathing filled with thematic nuances and progressive shades, Böhmer has poignantly strategized his gentle climb to the top with a steady stream of releases that have unearthed his grasp on ethereal sonics and conjunctively associated him with prolific peers. From his first appearance on esteemed deep house label Anjunadeep‘s Explorations 04 with the potently dreamy “Flug & Fall,” the Berlin talent had already cemented his ascent as a burgeoning act of his own. Consistently reaping radio play from Above & Beyond‘s Group Therapy, Böhmer has also received support from Ferry Corsten‘s Corsten Countdown, Cosmic Gate‘s Wake Your Mind, Aly & Fila‘s Future Sound of Egypt, and more.
While Böhmer’s full potential has hardly been breached, the culmination of his efforts in 2019 is just on the horizon. Coalescing with label mates Luttrell and Spencer Brown on “Gibberish” and “SF to Berlin” respectively, the fledging Berlin producer has transfixed melodic listeners in the studio and on stage—performing at not only Anjunadeep’s Open Air and Explorations circuit, but also supporting Lane 8‘s This Never Happened tour. Now, Böhmer looks to accelerate his career with his own world tour in support of debut LP Breathing and undeniably prepare for what will be his most defining year yet in 2020.
Peekaboo began gaining recognition in 2018 with his Wakaan-backed Imposters EP, as the cinematic “Arrival” shared a glimpse into his previous education as an audio engineer for horror films. Towards the end of 2018, the Michigan-born producer released scintillating bass squirmer “Babatunde” alongside G-Rex, which received multiple makeovers on a Wakaan remix pack released at the beginning of 2019 including a special VIP remix from the two original creators that graced festivals across stages celebrating deep 808 cuts.
Another early 2019 highlight is the most popular remix—according to Spotify streams—of Zeds Dead and Jauz’s dual imprint-backed “Lights Go Down,” which combined the slashing and ASMR synths atop rumbling low end that have placed Peekaboo in a box outside boxes, crafting sounds that are unique to his style. In March 2019, he released his four-track Wrecking Ball, which debuted at No. 10 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Album chart. The real wrecking ball offering came later that month with the thrashing Bassnectar collaboration “Illusion” featuring Born I from the bass forefather’s Reflective (Part 4) series.
After early success in 2019, the bass maven joined REZZ as the premier feature on her Beyond The Senses tour celebrating her debut self-released extended play, a stamp to the artistry and momentum garnered by Peekaboo this year—and sure to continue for the foreseeable future.
The wait for word from the Drezo camp has made for a slow-crawling 2019. Earlier this year, he announced a new EP series, Omens, alongside a standalone single, “Afterlife” from the first batch of tracks. While the electro insurrection was mighty, fans were certainly hoping for a full-length release from the fiercely sought-after LA producer this year.
Despite a multitude of delays with the EP launch, Drezo’s been able to summon a preternatural level of patience from his vastly attentive fanbase.
“I just want to represent where the heart of my whole entity lies,” Drezo recently told Dancing Astronaut of the impending EP series. “The dark, gritty club vibe, an atmosphere, really, which is very addicting to some people.”
He’s known for his “evil” earmark: a deliciously disturbing strain of mid-tempo bass. He’s proven adept enough in the production arena to garner official remixes for the likes of Destructo and Tchami, and is a known accomplice of the ever-elusive DJ Hanzel (aka Dillon Francis).
So while 2019 may have had Drezo’s tour schedule firing on all cylinders, he’s undoubtedly saved the original material for 2020. Don’t touch that dial.
Robert Hughes, under his Vincent moniker, already has a lot in store for the start of the new decade. Since stepping on the scene in 2015 with a still-popular remix of Alison Wonderland’s “U Don’t Know,” the Canadian artist has blossomed his career into a vibrant soundscape of dance and techno music.
Accompanied by a world tour at the beginning of the year, his EP For You is his most vulnerable and masterful collection of tracks to date, featuring lyrical and emotive songs, a departure from his typical invigorating electronic sounds. He worked with vocalists like Pauline Herr, Brooke Daye, sad alex, and Love, Alexa on the five-track EP, adding new layers and textures to his sonic palette. Aside from the successful EP, Vincent released many singles throughout the year, most notably his “Falling, Fading” solo venture, his single featuring The Griswolds, “Lost and in Love,” and a collaboration with Naderi, “Wasted Time.”
Wasting absolutely no time and relishing in his success, Vincent will embark on another world tour starting in January 2020 with The Griswolds.
It’s been a fairly quiet 2019 for mau5trap mainstay ATTLAS, but that doesn’t mean something isn’t brewing. After much anticipation, the Canadian producer finally revealed the third installment in his beloved Storyline series in July, ending the year-and-a-half drought since the sophomore’s drop. Additionally, he treated fans to his EDC Las Vegas back-to-back set with Rhett on SoundCloud and even put together an edit called “boxed machinery” after hearing how well the two songs went together during the set. ATTLAS regularly played shows in 2019, including a mau5trap label takeover in London in August and a slot on deadmau5’s Cube V3 tour in September. But the best was yet to come.
In the last month of the decade, the talented producer revealed that he’ll be starting 2020 with a bang—with the release of his debut LP, Lavender God. The first single (and track six from the album), “Sinner Complicated,” arrives on Dec. 6. The artist calls the track a “textured and atmospheric roller that progresses with narrative intention from the beginning.”
While there’s no set release date for the album, ATTLAS noted in a Facebook comment that it would be arriving in less than two months via mau5trap.
Armed with a vision of world-building through sound, Rinzen and his rise as a house and techno storyteller have dawned rapidly. Entangling multimedia influences of cinema and literature with music, the Los Angeles artist has constructed his own brand to be experienced as a full-immersion concept—flush with visual-inducing soundscapes and intriguing pictorial electronic styles. Catapulting his career beginnings in 2017, Rinzen has garnered the early support of deadmau5 with accumulations of several mau5trap releases since including two official deadmau5 remixes, “acedia (ov)” and “Monophobia.”
2019 has only capitalized on his meteoric developments with scything collaborative executions at its finest and an exponential tour front. The mau5trap fixture released three EPs in the year alone, initiating solo efforts on Prologue while joining forces with Mulya and Sobek for Mirrored Screen and Evan Casey and Marb on Torus. The creation behind Torus proved a triple threat: spotlighting Rinzen’s driving force behind the formation of Desert Hearts Black, marking Rinzen as the first release of the sub-label, and witnessed him opening the warehouse launch party. Simultaneously, Rinzen’s tour presence has grown momentously from one booking a month to career-defining triple header dates while also reaping in debuts at Ultra, EDC, Desert Hearts, and more. As his name calls, Rinzen has only just geared up to give 2020 a “sudden awakening.”
Nina Las Vegas
Nina Las Vegas has had herself a hugely successful 2019, and all ears are on the Australian artist to take her powerful girl-boss energy into the new decade.
NLV has cemented her status as an EDM tastemaker, with hosting positions on both Triple J and Beats 1 Radio. Towards the latter part of this year, the artist also (finally) collaborated with old pal and fellow Aussie Anna Lunoe for an absolute club detonator titled “One Thirty.” The track was released on Lunoe’s longtime home label, Mad Decent, as well as on Nina Las Vegas’ own imprint, NLV Records.
“It only took 15 years of friendship and [collaborating] in every other aspect of our life to finally build the courage to work on a song together,” she said of the track. “With so much shared between us already, it might have been the easiest day in the studio for each of us.”
The producer’s electric energy is funneled towards all things music, and she’s a passionate advocate for the revitalization of Sydney club life. Those interested in catching a Nina Las Vegas set can see her at Friendship 2020 on Jan. 6.
Fox Stevenson‘s rise has been steady over the course of the past several years, but it’d be hard to argue that any year has been more prominent for the producer than 2019. After releases of varied genres on Liquicity, Monstercat, Disciple, Spinnin’, and more, the 27-year-old UK producer decided that this was the time to put together a live band, a debut album, and a live tour. Killjoy hit the airwaves in full in October after tracks like “Out My Head” and “Dreamland” had gradually trickled out. In a brief documentary released on his YouTube channel, the artist noted that it’s “scary” to put out music like the tracks on Killjoy when he was getting bookings for DJ sets where he needed to play heavier music, but when it came down to it, the singer/songwriter knew the time was now. He says this process has been about getting back to what he is “at [his] core,” and his current work has been part of that self-discovery.
With an even farther-reaching sound, the sky’s the limit for Fox Stevenson in 2020 and beyond.