12 emerging artists you need to hear: March 2023
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From contemporary takes on classic house and techno to future-facing hip-hop, breaks and bass, here’s March 2023’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of
Whether in an art gallery or a club, Sofia Acosta, aka Coast2c, knows how to get people moving. A producer and sound artist from Mexico City who now calls Portland, Oregon home, Acosta’s latest three-tracker ‘Machine Music, Human Dance’ is a “conceptual EP” that was made to accompany a performance by artist and choreographer Takahiro Yamamoto at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art last year. The concept sounds enigmatic, but her sound design is anything but. ‘Nyoro-Nyoro’ is all tripping, two-stepping drums and bass, while ‘Polymorphism’ is a zapping, acid-driven banger with a demanding kick-drum.
Though she has years of experience as a DJ under her belt, Acosta only released her debut EP ‘Vault’ in 2021, which makes her atmospheric modular synth productions all the more impressive. Check out her high- energy single ‘Proximity’, released earlier this year on her own Gestef Records label, for more evidence of her ability to craft punchy techno with a slick acid-dub slant. Claire Francis
For fans of: Nene H, Amelie Lens, Edgar de Ramon
FAE recently joined Rinse FM as a new resident, and it’s an ideal platform for the London-based DJ to share her sprawling sound of garage, breaks, electro and house. FAE’s new venture with Rinse comes via the Team Woibey show, a weekly session shared with her “three best mates in the scene” — Ohmydais, Ell Murphy and Mixtress. With alternating solo slots between them, expect a myriad of pumping, Woibey vibes on the airwaves from these four powerhouses.
Having played festivals like Wigflex, Outlook and Risen, FAE will debut at Waterworks, Queens Yard, Westival and Twisted this summer. Check out her previous sets on HÖR to hear her extensive collection of bass-heavy moods, leftfield frequencies and wonky electro, all mixed with precision. With bookings coming in fast, one of FAE’s highlights so far includes joining the roster at Constellate talent agency: a surefire sign her trajectory is skyward. Niamh O’Connor
For fans of: Amaliah, Anna Wall, Dr Banana
North Londoner Louis VI is the first artist to release on HiyaSelf Recordings, the newly-minted label headed by Nightmares On Wax. Fittingly, ‘EARTHLING’ is a truly statement-making album. It’s a rich melting pot of hip-hop, jazz, funk, R&B, electronics, field recordings and more across 14 tracks that showcase Louis VI’s talents as a vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist. There are some great collaborations on ‘EARTHLING’, like on the Afrobeat-influenced ‘Yonn Manman Laté’ which taps Moses Boyd, and the smooth ‘It’s OK’ with Lex Amor, and elsewhere Oscar Jerome, Bluestaeb, Alex Cosmo Blake and Mick Jenkins also feature.
Louis VI is also a prominent climate activist, and thematically, the album builds on a keynote speech that he gave at the COP26 summit in Glasgow in 2021. Drawing on his Dominican, French and British heritage, he tackles weighty issues of police brutality and racism (like on the groove-laden ‘Purple Sky Samurai’), as well as colonialism and environmental destruction. Claire Francis
For fans of: Nightmares On Wax, Moses Boyd, Children Of Zeus
Born in Bogotá, Nicolas Duque caught our attention through his extended sets at Rio Hostel Buritaca, and lately has been making an imprint far beyond his Colombian hometown. Much like his energetic and vibey DJ sets, his productions draw inspiration from golden era ’90s house with a modern twist: think uplifting melodies and bouncing grooves, with an essence of UKG thrown into the mix for good measure. He began music-making at the age of 16, recently delving into music full time, and since then, his dedication is tangible. Duque’s sound has quickly made its way across Europe, his tunes cropping up in plenty of DJs’ record bags via releases on Magic Carpet, Dansu Discs, Nug-Net and Nuances de Nuit.
He has tracks upcoming on Sydney-based Oblique and Miami label Sarah Tonin, plus he’s nearly finished a debut album. “I plan to include a sound palette that portrays the variety of genres and music that I like and I’m currently into,” he reveals. Duque’s infectious energy is unmatched; catch him back in Europe very soon and illuminating dancefloors this summer. Anna Wall
For fans of: Gene On Earth, T.Jaques, Interplanetary Criminal
Toulouse-born Melody has made a name for herself as an impeccable selector. First carving her name within the Parisian scene, she’s a resident for the collective RA+RE Records, and in the past year alone has been making dancefloors move across London, Berlin, Venice, Brussels, Lisbon and further afield. Her mixes display her crate digging expertise, flawlessly blending undiscovered gems with new finds — expect to be taken on a journey — and her recent blend for London-based party Spaced’s series is a fine example of her exceptional taste.
In February, she played for Boiler Room in Berlin alongside an all-star line-up including Omar S and Zip, and in March, find her spinning at Bürro in Mainz, HORS-SOL at La Marbrerie, Rex Club in Paris, Breakfast Club in Amsterdam and for Picnic’s 11th birthday at fabric in London. In April she’ll be heading back to Berlin and Barcelona, and there’s plenty more to be announced. Stay tuned for Melody’s effortless flow and danceable rhythms coming to a club near you. Anna Wall
For fans of: Laurine & Cecilio, Truly Madly, Ethyl
Having honed his sound during several summers living and DJing in Ibiza, Cameron Jack weaves warm, Balaeric-flavoured melodies and hazy beats throughout his music. Previous releases on BLOND:ISH’s label Abracadabra and Italian imprint Natura Viva convey his Afro-house and proggy leanings, and this year, Cameron will deliver tunes on Crosstown Rebels, All Day I Dream and Abracadabra.
With support from Black Coffee, Damian Lazarus, Adam Port and BLOND:ISH, the London-based producer is one to keep an eye and ear on. Cameron’s DJ sets reflect his aesthetic as a producer too, and at the time of writing, he’s just returned from a tour of Africa, playing across Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia. Next up, he’s due to play Paris Fashion Week for the Abracadabra label party, and closer to home, he’ll join Shimza at Outernet with the Kunye label crew. 2023 will be a busy — if not breakout — year for Cameron Jack. Niamh O’Connor
For fans of: Blond:ish, Keinemusik, Pablo Fierro
The French have long had a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to dance music — and though the wider clubbing world’s gaze might not be as tightly focused on the country’s producers as they were in the heady days of prime-era French Touch, there is still a ton of top-tier material emanating from la république. Case in point: Raphaël Bureau-Mirat, aka Berzingue. Early last year, following a string of excellent EPs recorded with partner Alexandre Guerin — first as ALVA, and more recently under the Calmos & Berzingue moniker — the reliable Pont Neuf Records released Berzingue’s debut solo release, ‘Quitter Paname’, an EP brimming with shimmering house goodness.
2023 sees the return of Berzingue with the release of the ‘Architectures’ EP, also on Pont Neuf. It’s another gem, with six sparkling, precision-tooled tracks touching on euphoric synth-pop (‘Panorama’), garage (‘Mausolée’), freestyle-tinged breakbeats (‘One’) and vibey deep house (‘Night Cruise’). Berzingue’s not reinventing the house music wheel — but with wheels that spin this smoothly, why would you want to? Bruce Tantum
For fans of: Lauer, Krystal Klear, Demuir
For years, Skyler Madison made the rounds as an open-format DJ along America’s west coast. Now the ICON Collective alum is simplifying her stage name and honing in on a sound that rings authentic and earth-shattering at the same time. Under the fresh moniker SKYLER, the Los Angeles-based producer redefines the boundaries of future trap, meshing heavy drops with the type of ascending melodies that make heads bang at international festivals such as Tomorrowland, where she debuted the new act in 2022.
Since then, she’s amassed an impressive cohort of fans, including tastemakers like Krewella, Flux Pavilion, and NITTI, who’ve rinsed her tracks during their own bass-blasting performances as of late. It seems 2023 is SKYLER’s year for new releases, too. Take the filter-drenched ‘Hit My Line’, which arrived via Monstercat’s Uncaged sub-brand at the top of the year, and ‘Fix Me’, featuring singer-songwriter Josh Rubin, which drops on 10th March. The latter is a devastatingly gorgeous cut that brims with scintillating breakdowns and emotionally-driven lyrics. As far as melodic bass goes, it’s some of the best we’ve encountered this year, and affirmation of that fact is likely to follow come festival season, so get ready. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Alison Wonderland, NGHTMRE, RL Grime
Northeast house heads are already familiar with RVDIOVCTIVE, the label and party makers responsible for some of the scene’s best left-of-centre house music, as well as a floating event series that lights up the Hudson River on summer nights in NYC. At the helm of that fun-loving collective sits Devon James, a DJ and producer who also has an intriguing debut album incoming later this year. So far he’s dropped a couple of surefire killers from the batch — the first being ‘Risky Business’, a hazy electro-pop collab alongside indie-electronic artist Hundreds Thousands, while the second features an all-time legend, the iconic Jamaican producer Lee “Scratch” Perry, who lent his signature vocals and magic to the cut before his passing in 2021.
The latter is called ‘Love Reach,’ (also the project’s title track) and it’s a soulful journey with a tripped-out edge. The pair of tunes boast their own distinct vibes and progressions, while also demonstrating James’ mastery of melody and sound design. Upon first listen, we can’t wait to see what else he’s packing into this highly-anticipated LP. Best to keep it high up on your radar, too. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Felix Da Housecat, Soul Clap, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
Gynoid 74’s succinct bio, all of three sentences long, ends with the following tidbit: “She likes retro gear, dancing, and cats”. We’ll have to take her word for it on those last two, but judging from her forthcoming EP on a beloved label, we can report that she clearly is a fan of old-school equipment. She’s also fond of old-school dance music forms, with her new EP’s four tracks referencing various permutations of early house, techno, bleep, and breaks — the late ’80s and early ’90s seem to be her sweet spot. If it sounds like the work of someone who’s been at this for a while, that’s because Gynoid 74 is something of a pro.
She’s been releasing music for a few years now — a pair of EPs on Tom Carruthers’ Non Stop Rhythm label, 2021's ‘Twice Daily’, and 2022's ‘The Juice’, are well worth checking out — and DJing under the Mi$$ Co$mix moniker, she’s been a long-time force on the Glasgow underground circuit. Her latest, though, feels like a major step in her development as an artist — it’s the kind of release that’ll likely take her to a whole new level. Keep an ear out for when it drops. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: Phuture, Lauren Flax, Special Request
Azzecca launched her Dirty Disco parties during lockdown, back when all the gals were grooving comfortably in their living rooms. When nightspots like SpyBar and Smoke & Mirrors reopened in her Chicago hometown, Allie Decastris had a stark revelation. “I realised there was not only a lack of female representation in the industry, but that the club scene had become a somewhat uncomfortable space for women,” she says. “So I created a safe space for women to dress up and feel sexy without worrying about unwelcome attention.” It turns out this mission is as popular as her pulsating cuts, which have ignited dancefloors from the local ARC Festival to London’s iconic Printworks (head’s up, there’s a Dirty Disco event slated for 17th March in the Windy City, too.)
Her two-part single ‘Other Side’ hit the Higher Ground label in 2022, serving as an apt introduction to her nuanced drum lines and instrumental finesse. But those who prefer melodic techno heaters should give her recent remix of TIBASKO’s ‘Still Rushing’ a spin. Its emotive vocals, propulsive low-end, and expert panning make for an especially dreamy listen. Next up is a series of releases via Gorgon City’s REALM imprint this spring, so expect more dazzle on that front. Megan Venzin
For fans of: Camelphat, CRISTOPH, Miss Monique
When he unveiled the ‘Loose Rap’ mixtape early last year, the Detroit-born, LA-based vocalist and producer Vinson described the release thusly: “‘Loose Rap’ aims to take the concepts in ‘underground hip-hop’ and ‘neo-soul’ and flip them on their head... a postmodern interpretation on what are now traditional genres." That was an apt description of his subtly fractured, invigoratingly ambitious take on the heritage of the music, and that characterization is even more fitting when it comes to his debut EP, ‘SoftSweetRadical’, just released on Wichita Recordings. The title of the EP is another clue to his sound — dreamy and intimate, it blends tender soul forms and creative experimentation into something uniquely his own.
The soul part of the equation likely comes easy to Vinson: One of his great uncles was a vocalist for the Motown hitmakers The Four Tops, while another was a member of The Contours and The Falcons. But the urge to bend the music into a new template... Well, that’s all his. Though he’s still early in his career, Vinson’s already supported such names as Ghostface Killah, Goapele, and DUCKWRTH — it’s a safe bet that he’ll be headlining his own gigs before long. Bruce Tantum
For fans of: dreamcastmoe, Sudan Archives, MF DOOM