Menu

Search anything and hit enter

<1 year ago>

Whisky Kicks

WORDS

Ones To Watch 2023

NOW READING •

Ones To Watch 2023

The scene is so healthy at the moment that at each rave we attend or every-time we tune into a radio show we’re bombarded with a fresh onslaught of killer new talent keeping things as fresh and exciting as ever. 2023 looks set to see bass music intercept the mainstream in an even bigger way, which means more space and resources for the underground. And we can’t wait to experience the results.

Always ready with our ears to the dancefloor, we’ve asked our contributors to cast the spotlight on some of the artists they feel are doing bits right now.

Pinks 

Self-confessed 160- 180 bpm selectress Pinks will have been on the radar of many over the last year or so after her major involvement in Queer Collective Unorthodox; the UK’s leading queer Drum & Bass movement, which has seen her grace some of dance music’s biggest stages from Boomtown to Tomorrowland. Besides this, she’s involved with Bristol based justBe, who continually deliver on their manifesto of equality and epic events. DJing and putting the worlds to rights aside, it’s Pinks’ venture into production which has her as one of OTW23. She’s been selected out of many budding producers as one of Overview Music’s mentees for the production mentorship 2023, which sees Dynamics jump on board too. 

This is going to be a massive year for Pinks. In her latest mix which just dropped on our favourite Welsh badman’s 1 More Thing; you can hear a few dubs from this compelling producer herself. Pinks is b2b on a collab with BioTek’s bars featuring her own spoken word at 24 mins in on Repetitive Cycles, and another banging dub begins around 47 mins in.  

“2023 sees my first release drop in March, 11th of Feb I’ll be supporting TC at The Funky End Aldershot, then we’ve got Unorthodox at Peckham Audio on 17th of Feb and at 24th of March Volks, Brighton on my birthday. More shows coming in and festival bookings later in the year that I can’t announce yet. I’m also putting my head to making a positive change in the scene so watch that space!” (Liohness)

Stuart Rowe

As far as vocalists go in the drum and bass scene, it’s fair to say the last few years have been incredible. We’ve seen established names push their craft to new levels with solo releases, including EPs and albums, and we’ve witnessed a whole new crop of talent break through – bringing with them renewed excitement for vocal D&B. One of these is Stuart Rowe, and he’s a hidden gem who is finally being uncovered. You may not recognise the name, or the voice, but he did feature on Macky Gee’s Aftershock. While that feature was huge, if you’ve seen Stuart’s acoustic covers then you’ll know just how incredible his voice is, and how much more potential it has. Just check out his recent solo release with Mystific on Carnelian Music. It’s awesome.

This year is definitely going to be a big year for the vocalist. He already has some amazing releases locked in with a range of established producers. Look out for new music from him and Aaron Payne very soon. They linked up on Onyx Recordings last year on their Unexplained single. (Jake Hirst)

CaitC

The dancefloor queen of the Netherlands, some call her. CaitC has been releasing tune after tune, and could be found playing at the Rampage mainstage last year. Hailing from Breda, she’s been producing for a while now, with tunes on labels like LUX and Viper Recordings. Her signature sound often involves female lyrics with a nasty bass, and that’s exactly what you can expect from her sets too. Packed with energy.

In March she’ll be one of the opening acts on Rampage, in the UKF room. For their latest edition, they asked 10 hosts to pick their own line-up, and UKF is one of them. Alongside Grafix, Ruth Royall, Tantrum Desire, The Caracal Project and others, she’ll be opening the Belgian rave season. Something tells us that this big move is only the beginning for CaitC. (Annelies Rom)

No Nation 

No Nation’s style bubbles nicely in the realms of drum and bass where subgenre tags can’t explain the vibes. Listening through a No Nation mix you’ll find yourself firmly rooted in soundscape filled with a mix of jungle breaks and quick moving experimental patterns. Influences can be heard leaning in from liquid, hop-hop, techno and UKG making for one hell of an interesting listen. His unpredictable sound pallet means he has found a perfect home on wildly experimental and undoubtedly underground label Different Music.

In February last year he interviewed DJ Flight on his Subtle Radio show, its insightful interview and killer mix meant the episode ended up as of stations highlight for 2o23. If you’re a fan of good music regardless of where it sits in the dnb spectrum No Nation is for you. Head over to his soundcloud where you can peruse through some of his latest mixes ad radio shows. While still relatively new to the scene No Nation has been picked up by the likes of underground connoisseurs Sweetpea, Dexta and Rave Report, and with backing like that who are we to argue.  (Whisky Kicks)

Cross-Over

London based Gabriel describes his sound as a mixture of energetic and melodic; pretty angelic right?

His latest track Hypnotise Hypnotise – Crossover which dropped recently on Toronto Is Broken’s YANA Music opens up with a swirl of enigmatic pads and a psychedelic sample that promises one large trip on to the dancefloor.  This producer has been impressing us for a while and with releases scheduled for 2023 on French based Vahana Records, we can’t help but rub our hands with excitement at his upcoming single and scheduled EP.

Definitely check out Cross-Over’s back catalogue. In The Midst which dropped on Rene’s DeVice Records is an excellent example of Crossover’s ability to ebb and flow between the fierce and floaty. Cross-Over gets around the world quite a bit…which means there could also be a collab with V Recordings DJ Andy who Gabriel linked up with back when “I was playing over in São Paulo supporting North Base”. (Liohness)

Sam Binary

He’s been releasing since 2015 on labels like Tenfold Audio and Addictive Behaviour – pushing a blend of half-tempo, breakbeat and autonomic-style beats. Fast-forward to the 2020’s and his approach has evolved to a deeper, steadier drum & bass output, highlighted by the Bristolian’s feature on The North Quarter’s inaugural NQ State of Mind compilation. His track on here, ‘Surface Tension’, was the highlight of the release for me – I genuinely thought it was some long-lost Marcus Intalex track when I first heard it in the mix. 

Last year we got more Sam Binary on TNQ with the 7-track EP ‘Reality Slip’. This release explores many tempos and styles beyond just 174, tied together by a pleasing mixture of old school rave and deep atmospherics. The tracks ‘For Real’ and ‘Want U’ in-particular have been echoing throughout the dancefloors I’ve frequented. On that note too, don’t sleep on his DJ sets – with recent guest appearances on Rinse FM and the SUNANDBASS podcast, he’s shown impeccable selection and snug mixing. 

At this stage, Sam Binary has arguably moved-on from being ‘one to watch’ into a bonafide mainstay. Nevertheless, with his now well-defined style and sharp production, I’ll be closely watching his movements as he continues to level-up and deliver more music in 2023.

Watch for; A follow up EP on The North Quarter, releases on Bristol-based labels. And more collabs with Deviant. (Sam Yates)

Natty Lou

While the music industry can sometimes feel like a game of who you know, it should never be forgotten that in order to succeed you need to be a hard worker. Wales’s own Natty Lou is a prime example of this, and one of the most dedicated artists I’ve seen in some time. Whether it’s her work with the iconic Concrete Junglists or her history as a touring dancer at huge shows, Natty Lou has always put the graft in. If you’ve seen her DJ then you’ll know this all too well. She brings the energy more than most, and she’s no stranger to big blends. Lockdown felt like a really positive moment for the artist’s development – giving her time to begin building a career as a music artist.

As we roll into 2023, we’re going to see the artist start to release her own productions geared to the dancefloor – tracks she has been honing for sometime. Keep an eye out for Natty Lou’s debut single, which is dropping next month. (Jake Hirst)

Pinks (Again!)

Pinks has been a part of the Unorthodox family since the start, and has been a ‘just be’ resident for quite some time now. For those who don’t know who Unorthodox are, it’s a London collective, setting up events for the queer community. It was founded by Nathan X, Pinks and Clarkus, and has seen headliners like IMANU, Paul T and Oberon and Changing Faces. Last year they hosted their own stage at Tomorrowland, and Pinks had a spot on the line-up.

Not only is the ‘just be’ resident known for her fiery and energetic sets, she’s also been announced as one of the mentees of the newest Dynamics x Overview mentorship. We think it’s safe to say Pinks will be firing out some tunes sooner rather than later. She’s been calling herself a ‘self taught producer’ up until now, while getting some support from Kyrist and others. So far, Pinks will be playing Unorthodox events in London in February, and in Brighton in March. We’re sure her calendar will be filling up with some other big events soon. (Annelies Rom)

More Like This

Popular