Even to those who live, sleep, breath, eat and think about fresh underground music every second of the day, forecasting a favourite for the new year is tricky. Sometimes articles of this nature go in too early and predict future stars of years to come, other times these feature picks artist who fail to back up the heat of their entry and fall flat on the canvas. Plus music is hugely volatile and everything can change at the flick of one well-timed track or a big premiership co-sign before boom: the game is changed.
However, there are artists who are making really motivating music that comes from a place that genuinely feels authentic and creatively progressive. And that’s the basis our writing team have picked their hot picks for 2016 on this year. From well-known-but-soon-to-blow-up to freshman up-and-comers to brand new collaborations, these are our hot tips for 2016.
Who do YOU think will smash 2016?
Everyone loves a good mystery… Like what even is the Bermuda Triangle? Why is Mistabishi always so angry? When will Need For Speed employ TheMajesticCousins? And who the absolute f#$! is Dawn Wall?
This could very well remain one of life’s grand mysteries as the production outfit seem to be keeping their identity firmly under wraps, and I’m beginning to think perhaps it’s for the best. The prevalence of social media has meant that sometimes personalities become bigger than the music they make, and I admire Dawn Wall for creating a new moniker, remaining faceless and letting the music speak for itself – and it certainly has something to say.
Their output on Integral has been nothing short of stunning, managing to produce a consistent stream of lush liquid vibes, as well as surprisingly sinister growlers. Legend has it that one of them lives abroad, and the other two are established producers in the scene… Red-herring anyone? I say we just stop the guessing game and enjoy the music. With an album due in 2016 I can’t wait to see what else they’ve got in store. (Maja Cicic)
It’s been a great year for D&B; many of the scene’s big-hitters dropped huge albums, a number of producers that have deserved recognition for a number of years finally got the praise their music warranted and, perhaps most promisingly, a handful of new producers exploded onto the scene out of nowhere and showed their intent with highly accomplished releases.
In my opinion, GLXY fall into the latter category more so than anyone else. In September, their track ‘I Want 2’ was uploaded to our channel and a common response was… “who?” Barely anyone had heard of them; there was very little information about the duo and barely a back catalogue to be found, but that has changed since that upload and will continue to do so at a rate faster than a spaceship blasting into the… ahum, galaxy.
A listen of their highly polished debut EP combined with the fact they’ve picked up support from the likes of Hugh Hardie and Technimatic tells you just why I’m tipping this pair of newcomers to do big things in 2016. With a number of projects already sewn up for next year, including a remix for one of the scene’s most respected artists, and a set at Ministry of Sound with the Hospital Records crew, it looks like the boys are set to launch into 2016 with a bang. Watch this space… (Robin Murray)
2015 was undoubtedly the year of the bedroom producer, with Soundcloud positively exploding with an array of exciting new names. There’s one name that stood out to me though. Gylzey is a guy that’s making some of the most unique, hard hitting beats out there right now. His distinctive approach to production shows in his thumping Sui Generis EP to his speaker-abusing Steppin Up remix… Gylzey has showed huge potential this year and has me salivating for more. (Mike Atkin)
The first song from Memtrix I ever heard was his collab with Koven on Pessimist. This song stayed with me for a while and I started to dig a little deeper and found the Voodoo EP. This year he graced us with an EP collaboration with Spor (casual) and, most recently, his Frontiers / Black Moon release, which has been just MAGIC.
He’s barely scratching his 20s and already the young man from Kent England, has been signed to a label that is helping to propel him into success. He’s already come so far since his early releases, and he’s settled into a unique artist sound that encompasses his broader influences with consistency. It’s a classic story of a bedroom producer who had no concrete plans of becoming a producer full time then suddenly finding himself in the thick of an exciting career that hasn’t been contrived or forced in any way whatsoever.
Meshing his guitar and love for metal with electronic music gives him an exciting edge; you can really hear his productions coming from a place of passion and it’s this energy and fusion that makes him a potential key artist to bridge the D&B gap between the UK and North America bass.
Pessimist has been unavoidable this year, his collab with Spor was incredible and word on the street those two aren’t done collaborating yet. He explores new areas of music that inspire him creatively, and he’s not just making what people expect from him. That’s what sets him apart. 2016 is no doubt going to be a massive year for Memtrix, I’m calling that one now! (Tabitha Neudorf)
Croatian duo NOVKA were heralded as ‘the future of house music’ by YourEDM this summer. Hyperbole radars pinged off the scale with that description… Then we checked the music and conceded that NOVKA are indeed ones to keep stern eyes (and ears) on in the future.
Whittling a similar future house stick to that of Hi-Lo and Tchami, but with more dominance in the bass and rolling tech funk department, in the space of one EP and a selection of free downloads they’ve made a strong impression (especially with the suitably titled, super-gnarly, sand-paper funk cut Lethal) creating a firm foundation for a very exciting 2016. (Dave Jenkins)
Choosing a key artist to look out for in 2016 was tough, but in the end I had to choose the juggernaut Philth.
With an epic back catalogue of releases spanning Dispatch, Playaz, Spearhead, CIA DeepKut and many more, Philth looks set to have a very interesting, exciting and ground breaking 2016. The London based producer is the classic triple threat; Producer, DJ and A&R for Peer Pressure Records.
Philth brings huge influence from film music into his drum n bass, giving a cinematic journey to each track and taking the listener on a roller coaster of sound twisting and turning the plot, keeping us constantly engaged. He brings contrast to music, one minute there is musical beauty to rival classically trained composers; then in the flick of a switch the nastiest, filthiest gutter bass you have ever heard. If I was to write him a moto it would be ‘inspire, shock and awe’. As a DJ he is very exciting and entertaining, mixing quickly and technically but never sacrificing groove and always paying homage to Music House era drum n bass. 2016 looks to be an intriguing year for Philth with lots of immense releases, inspiring collaborations and intense DJ shows yet to come. Keep an ear out for this one.(Matthew Champan)
Last month Friction invited DLR & Mako’s Onemind project to his show for one of the best DNB60 mixes we’ve ever heard. Introduced by Metalheadz founder Goldie as one of the most exciting projects he’d experienced in drum & bass in years, the mix was a whirlwind of icy, barbed wire atmospheres and unsettling sound designs featuring a wealth of newness from their forthcoming album due for release in 2016.
Right now, though, we’re kicking ourselves: the mix has since been taken down and we didn’t cop a download. This was probably due to the amount of upfront awesomeness it contained, and apparently it will be uploaded to Metalheadz Soundcloud in the near future… Along with plenty more awesomeness that we hope will be revealed fully in the new year. Both DLR and Mako are no strangers to uncompromised, exciting productions. Together their potential is dangerously exciting. We can’t wait to hear more of what they have in store. (Dave Jenkins)
2015 treated Samy Beyou pretty darn well. But guess what? 2016 is about to launch this whippersnapper into the upper-echelon of dubstep’s elite. Under his alias of SampliFire, the French phenomenon has developed quite a reputation amongst those in the underground bass music scene. When an artist is this young and this supremely gifted, it’s scary to think about what their sound can evolve into with a couple more years of seasoning. Standby for the results. (Barrett Nelson)
Listening to a Skope production is like taking a trip into a new foreign city; at once familiar and fresh, Skope’s sound design and fusion of dubstep, glitch, D&B, funk and breaks comprises everything you know and love about bass-fuelled music but does so on its own terms with its own unique character. Very much like a young Culprate.
2015 was pivotal for the young Londoner with key releases on Inspected, Technique and Instant Vibes – as well as his crucial role in Krafty Kuts’ Wicked City troupe – but we reckon 2016 will see him take that even further. (Dave Jenkins)
Although relatively unknown, this man has been around since 2008 making some of the finest UK bass music on our shores. His latest release on Astrophonica sees Sully reworking old break and jungle patterns in a wicked modern style. This latest release really caught my attention, you can hear the evolution in his music from his early stuff to now and I can only see it getting better and better. I feel 2016 could be a promising year for a producer who is heavily involved in the resurgence of the 90s breakbeat sound, which is getting more and more popular. You can definitely be sure to expect more exciting music to come from Sully in the next year…watch this space! (Reuben Hunt)