Which artists are going to smash 2017?
Easy to say, impossible to answer definitively… Fun to speculate on.
Whether you’re a brand new act with a precision executed debut or an established act who takes their sound on a new twist, all it takes a timely track, performance, album, remix, bootleg, collaboration or radio mix to capture the moment and your profile can switch quicker than you can say Mollie Collins.
The trickiest part was reducing this list of artists who have potential to do that down to a mere 17. The rude state of health across all shades of bass music means we could spend the last 10 days of January listing exciting artists. But where’s the fun in that?
Here are 17 awesome acts who we know have key releases tee’d up for the year and, most importantly, making some serious good music right now. If you don’t already, get to know each of these. You won’t be disappointed…
(Words: Dave Jenkins, Robin Murray, Barrett Nelson)
The precocious 20-year-old Slovakian truly announced herself to us at the Prague at Beats Evolution Conference, where she smashed it not once but twice, filling in for BCee on the second occasion. If the Spearhead boss had been there he no doubt would’ve been impressed by her selection, and that also goes for her releases; most recently her stunning In The Woods on Pilot. Look out for a new EP as well as a collab with a well known liquid producer. Watch this space… (Follow Changing Faces)
Eatbrain, Invisible, Terminal, Disciple, Renegade Hardware, Inspected, Critical… This is the calibre of labels Berlin-based Disprove has been dealing with since he emerged two years ago. It’s not hard to hear why: his blistering mixdowns and grainy distorted bass hit with warmth and dynamic space every single time. Up there with Signal as one of the genre’s sharpest young tech talents, we have it on good authority he’s got another massive EP en route… And he may well follow it with a few deeper curveballs! (Follow Disprove)
Having made an impressive noise in 2014, Calgary’s Dan Dakota all but vanished for two years as he invested two years in his studio to hone his craft and find his sound. Fred V & Grafix were the first to blast his return fanfare last year with a slew of Dakota dubs in their Essential Mix then Dan backed up the hype as he lay down serious light/dark law on Liquicity, his hometown imprint Supreme Hustle and with us by way of his heaviest track yet: Glow. More singles are due this year and he might, just might, be working on something even bigger… (Follow Dan Dakota)
Fresh from his debut Boiler Room appearance and selling out his first headline show, Midlands murker Goof is expected to elevate his game even higher this year. Mischievously jacking around that bassline/UKG/bass house axis, it’s easy to hear why his floor-focused fire is regularly repped across the 130 board from Flava D to AC Slater. Refreshingly playing a cool less-is-more game – he’s not bombarded the stores and streams with endless releases, thus creating a cool sense of hype when he does drop something. Which is handy as more is expected very soon: Eyes On You in February, a Mr Virgo remix in March and some rather big collaborations after that… (Follow Holy Goof)
Hugh Hardie has quickly established himself as one of the finest producers on Hospital Records. His style fits the label perfectly and in 2016 he demonstrated that more so than ever with his City Soul EP, which featured Light It Up – the tune picked out by Hospital fans as the best of the year, and with good reason. This year the Cambridge-based producer has a full debut album lined up, scheduled for release in the summer, which will give him a chance to really flex his studio muscles. (Follow Hugh Hardie)
Make no mistake about it, the man behind one of last year’s most rinsed-out tunes has plenty more bullets left in the chamber. Show-wise Belgium, Montreal, Paris, and Australia make up just a handful of the bass-friendly heavens that will host this emerging musician in the coming months. On top of uploading fresh content to his SoundCloud page every Friday, his next EP is scheduled for release in February on Monsters Music. Which means you won’t have to wait very long. Praise the lord! Take a page out of Cookie Monsta, Dubloadz, & Zeds Dead’s book and throw your support behind this young gun. (Follow Infekt)
There’s a reason the likes of Randall, Marky and Bryan Gee have released (and heavily championed) the work of this man. Entrenched in deep, rolling, classically-trained D&B science, Florida’s Jaybee is crafting some serious timeless designs right now. Warming up in 2011, Jaybee has gradually risen to the forefront of America’s most exciting drum & bass wave since Violence Recordings and Human Imprint were at their prime. With a brand new EP on Elm out this month, he’s set to follow it up with three new tracks Chronic Rollers, Mac 2’s Heavweight Sounds and collaborations with his cohorts old and new: Trex, Dave Owen, Calculon, RMS, Kumarachi and more. With his debut UK tour firming up for the summer, 2017 could well be the year Jaybee legitimizes the OG support he’s had lately. (Follow Jaybee)
Summer 2016: Plastician mentioned he was working with a new artist who’d been quietly working away on his sound, developing a whole body of work that was airtight from the internet. A rarity in wave circles – an exciting melting pot scene that’s fueled by freeform, unpolished Soundcloud sketches – the Terrorhythm boss kept Klasey on lockdown and helped him focus his sound even more. The result lands next week: his debut EP Foreign Buyers Club is a rich, evocative five-track document ranging from 90-140 BPM and melting down raw emotions in each track. From the smoky jazz vapour traces on No Mercy to the glistening Balearic sunset strings on Gang Gang by way of the cosmic sci-fi bass on Cement, Klasey’s barged the doors of 2017 down and left them open for a whole load more later this year. (Follow Klasey Jones)
Truth be told, Krimma is precisely what dubstep needs. His beyond amusing productions are as detailed and refreshing as they come these days. No stranger to pushing bass compositions way past their standard limitations, it’s easy to see why anybody would naturally gravitate towards this invincible underground force. We strongly encourage crusaders of Bukez Finezt and Ganja White Night to lose their composure when this producer’s fatty beats start conquering sound systems like there’s no tomorrow. The hype surrounding this musician has been a bit on the subtle side, but when the dubstep-dependent finally get wind of him, the whole freaking universe better be prepared to keep their ears glued to the ground. (Follow Krimma)
Mitekiss is a producer who’s been threatening to gain widespread acclaim for years, but in 2016 drew himself closer than ever with his Final Hours EP, which dropped on Shogun’s sister label SGN:LTD in November. The 31-year-old has been making music for 16 years and it’s not hard to hear that. In the coming months he has a shedload of music lined up including collabs with GLXY and Ownglow and almost an album’s worth of material ready to drop on us throughout the year. 2017 could well be the year Mitekiss hits the big time. (Follow Mitekiss)
With a wingspan of five metres and habitats on every continent besides Antarctica, the pelican is a definitely a bird to watch in 2017. Its UK namesake Pelikann, even more so. His particular wingspan stretches five miles from gutter-chomping, mind-warping bass house to pranged out 3am fracturisms, creating habitats in every card carrying bass DJ’s playlists. Usually spotted on the likes of Saucy, In:Flux and Punks, he’s crunched off the top of the year in style with two major Eps this month – Shakedown and Internal Bluescreen. They’re set to be followed by a co-lab EP with SaidWho, a high profile remix, a new project with his brother William on vocals and plenty more. With festival bookings already confirmed for the summer, 2017 will be this young man’s busiest year to date. (Follow Pelikann)
Pola & Bryson
Soulvent Records starlings Pola & Bryson gained lots of new fans in 2016 thanks to being non-stop studio hounds, which resulted in their breathtaking debut album, This Time Last Year. They’re going to show no signs of slowing down in 2017 with an EP lined up on a massive D&B label and album number two already in the pipeline. Look out for some big news from the duo next month. (Follow Pola & Bryson)
2017 marks a decade in the game for German husband/wife duo Rawtekk. It may also mark their biggest year in the game. With their two Med School albums galvanizing their stark, grainy signature sound design and moody, misty atmospheres (the latter – Here’s To Them – the result of 5000 hours work), this year they’ll explore their unique space and dynamic to even further frontiers. And they’ll do with a new collaborative concept LP on Methlab, EPs on some of the most respected neuro labels and, rumour has it, a remix of an electronic music institution. The Rawtekk takeover (Rawtekkover?) continues… (Follow Rawtekk)
The joint Voltron-like power of Bristol’s Sly-One, Bromley, Archive and Distro: S.O.B.A.D is a six-headed force of nature that smelts down each act’s technique (from grime to Baltimore via good old fashioned UKG and house) and remoulds it into a formidable new fusion. So far the results of this old school crew-like dynamism have been felt strictly IRL through vigorous touring and on their airwaves via their monthly Reprezents shows but this year sees the artists (who all have impeccable solo discographies) dropping their first S.O.B.A.D EP… And more. (Follow S.O.B.A.D)
When FuntCase, SKisM, D-Jahsta, 12th Planet, Bukez Finezt, Spag Heddy, Midnight Tyrannosaurus and Rekoil are plugged in to every move you make, you’re probably doing something right. A lot of something right! This crafty Canadian’s distinct robostep sound continues to strangle the dubstep community with an unbreakable chokehold. While many pioneers of this subgenre have fallen by the wayside over the years, this producer fully understands the raw power of robotic bass music and intends to harness every last ounce of its extraordinary energy. Building off his remarkable Insomniac EP from last year, he’ll aim to maintain momentum by unleashing some dynamite free releases and a forthcoming EP on Savage Society Records. With dates for live shows setup all across the globe, it’s only a matter of time until Subject 31 lays siege to a city near you.
A regular face on UKF since his debut track First Time in spring 2015, Taim’s rough-but-restrained balance of soul and sickness/groove and grit goes from strength to strength. A permanent resident in playlists of DJs like My Nu Leng, Chris Lorenzo, Shift K3Y, Stanton Warriors and DJ Q, he’s about to unleash a wealth of work in the coming months: kicking off the year with his remix of TC, he’s about to follow it with a series of originals and remixes on Punks including new original track Overtime and versions of Bromley’s Burn Down’ and Barely Royal’s Fire In The Dark’. Hold tight for two big collaborations around spring time, too. (Follow Taim)
It’s no secret that 2016 was a busy year for XaeboR, but 2017 is about to be a whole heck of a lot busier for one of the genre’s most intriguing producers. With several EP’s currently under construction, we’re starting to wonder whether this kid ever sleeps or if he’s just a machine programmed with the lone objective of creating perfect dubstep percussion. After catapulting onto the scene a couple years back, this artist has fine-tuned his approach and is now operating at a truly optimal level. In addition to his soon-to-be, self-released ZWANG EP, he also plans to flex his muscle on labels like Buygore and SMOG Records in the not so distant future. Ever heard of 12th Planet? Coffi? p0gman? Because all of them have heard of this hell-raising dubstep rascal and they clearly love what they’re hearing. (Follow XaeboR)