Six emerging artists you need to hear this December
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From hardcore techno hybrids and house to exhilarating experimental electronics, here's December 2020’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of
Nottingham DJ/producer Private Caller may be a new name to most, but he’s already making power moves with releases on some great labels. Mixing techno, hardcore and jungle into highly danceable powder kegs, his tunes have already cropped up on the Tumble Audio and Hardcore Energy imprints, while a fresh release on SHERELLE and NAINA’s Hooversound is guaranteed to generate plenty of attention. A split EP with Mani Festo, Private Caller’s tracks on the Hooversound release are towering dancefloor beasts (if only we had a dancefloor to play them to right now). ‘You’ lulls us into a false sense of security with its tinkling bell tones, before dropping into chopped Amen breaks and huge bass. Meanwhile, ‘Inside’ is a bona fide jungle juggernaut with slicing synth riffs and chest-caving Reese sub.
Operating in that sweet-spot between genres that has become the calling card of collectives like Club Glow and producers like Special Request, Private Caller is an exciting name to keep an eye on.
For fans of: Special Request, Local Group, Eusebeia
Detroit has a new star, and he goes by the name of O’Shay Mullins, aka Huey Mnemonic. Last year, his self-titled EP showed the many sides to his production skills and highlighted his unique flare, from the heavy breakbeats of ‘Vibrations Radio’, to the fast-paced electro of ‘Healing Chamber’, and the Mr Fingers-esque ‘Emissary’. His latest release, ‘The Technician’, on his own Subsonic Ebonics imprint, displays three rhythmic masterpieces, with ever-changing sequences flowing effortlessly with fast-paced 909 rhythms, demonstrating his impressive mastery of machines. He’s currently working on a new EP and more music for Subsonic Ebonics with plans to press the next one to wax.
“After that I want to venture into album territory. Again it’s something I’ve had in mind for some time,” he says. “While these are things I’m aiming to do I’m also trying to be open to when and how things happen, so nothing is rushed.” One thing is for sure, he’s already building a discography that is fast aligning him alongside the artists that have given Detroit its longstanding legacy.
For fans of: Robert Hood, Glenn Underground, Boo Williams
Combining her own soulful vocal hooks with influences from grime, jungle and house, Nia Archives has a refreshing, modern production style that is already taking her places. Originally from Leeds, it was a move to Manchester that inspired her to start making tunes, drawing influences from the city’s percolating dance scene.
In 2019, she relocated to London and began to create tracks as Nia Archives. Citing artists like jungle pioneers Remarc and Nookie as well as Burial and Flava D as favourites, her productions are often driven by ideas. ‘Don’t Kid Urself’, for instance, has digital synth blips, a kinetic four-four beat and a haunting vocal, lacing various styles together into an intriguing hybrid. “I was primarily inspired by the iconic synths of grime, so started out with that, but I wanted to recreate that as a dance tune, so I layered it over this heavy-hitting bassline,” she told the Have You Heard website. Another track, ‘Sober Feels’, is a slab of Brazilian-style drum & bass, with melancholy guitar combining with Nia’s lyrics to create a bittersweet paean to the post-club blues. Look out for a new side project, HIJINXX, showcasing UK youth culture, in the new year.
For fans of: Greentea Peng, Flava D, ELLES
Effy’s new single ‘Bodied’ should be resonating across dancefloors right now; it’s a track dedicated to female sexual empowerment, and will undoubtedly propel her already flourishing career. Gaining support from tastemakers like Pete Tong and Scuba, whom she recently remixed for his Hot Flush imprint, she launched her own label EFFY Music with ‘Fluffy Clouds’ and ‘Ara’. Both tracks encompass euphoric breakdowns and kicking drums, perfectly inspired for residency at London’s E1 that began in 2019, and her set for Junction 2’s virtual festival this year.
While the clubs may be closed, she’s already fast-building a catalogue of releases, including remixes of Earth Boys on Shall Not Fade, Franc Moody on Juicebox, and La Fleur for her long-running Power Plant Records imprint. She’s also one of Rinse FM’s newest residents, launching her new show in March this year, an opportunity to present the dancefloor-focused sounds that she’d be throwing down in the clubs right now, and will sure to be in years to come.
For fans of: Nightwave, SCB, Hugo Massien
Born from inspiration derived during a hot springs camping trip in the Pacific Northwest, Ryan Krumins has been exploring the deeper sounds of house music under the moniker of Hot Tub since 2016. Ryan utilises his indie-rock background to incorporate melodic guitar, keyboard and vocals into his tracks, all of which he himself records and performs live during his shows. Last year, Ryan released his debut EP entitled ‘Sunrise’. The four tracks exemplify his passion for house music through themes of exploration, and the power of a positive-present mindset.
The first single from his sophomore EP, ‘In The Moment’, also gained him recognition from The Chainsmokers earlier this year. It’s an uplifting cut with a dark rolling vibe that reflects the interconnection of nature and freedom found in festivals near Krumins’ neck of the woods, like Shambhala. His latest EP was a three-track collaboration with Ben Fox, and his newest single ‘I’m Coming Home’ dropped at the start of September on Westwood Recordings.
For fans of: Klangkarussell, Nora En Pure, ODESZA
Akiko Haruna’s productions encourage you to travel through different planes of consciousness; atmospheric, expansive and completely unpredictable, while at the same time sharp, syncopated and rhythmic, creating shockwaves of momentum. Immerse yourself in her EP on Where To Now? for an example, from the beautiful chaos of ‘Husband Established’ to the deep serenity of ‘Ripheaus Alley’. The perpetual movement in her music is reflective of her background in dance — an integral part of her development as an artist. “The knowledge that I picked up from my dance days has been crucial in the way I’ve gone about music over the last few years,” she explains. “Everything I learnt from that time, I have applied to my work now. With dance there is not much distance between the source of emotion and the presentation of it. There is nothing to really hide behind when you are performing and it is an incredibly vulnerable and exhilarating experience.”
Akiko’s latest single ‘Raw’ has just dropped on Numbers with a full EP to follow in February 2021, plus she appears on the Timedance compilation that’s just come out celebrating the label’s fifth anniversary.
For fans of: Klein, Eartheater, Aïsha Devi