Six emerging artists you need to hear this February
The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to the top this month. From euphoric house and fierce techno to blissed-out d&b and pristine, synth-led songwriting, here's February 2021’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of
Bouncing between ambient and euphoric house, Bill Mango has been sharing his balmy sound since 2018, the same year he started running the bi-monthly event series Mango in Griessmuehle, Berlin. Since Covid-19 halted most events worldwide, a wealth of ideas have come to fruition for the DJ and producer based in Waterford, Ireland.
Having launched the Mango label last June, Bill released his debut EP ‘Sun, Sea & XTC’ on the imprint — with plays coming in from Peach, Addison Groove and even Faithless. A 13-track charity compilation followed, and looking to the year ahead, Bill’s production schedule is promising. The first 12” on Mango, Westcoast Goddess’ ‘Sea Breeze’, will drop in early May in tandem with guest mixes and forthcoming collaborative releases. You can also count on the return of Mango parties in Berlin when possible; much needed after the hiatus of spirited events.
For fans of: Axel Boman, Shanti Celeste, Patrick Holland
Luton DJ/producer Jamiu has an expansive and hard-to-pigeonhole approach to electronic music. Formerly known as Jimi Perspective, he has made appearances on Subtle and Balamii radio, and released the ‘Don’t Miss’ EP at the end of last year: four tracks of chasm-deep beats that demonstrated his aptitude with various genres. ‘Don’t Miss’ itself is a dreamy and spacious take on drum & bass, with siroccos of synth and crystalline melodies suggesting dBridge collaborating with Carl Craig.
‘Ni Suru’ is a percussive tumble somewhere between UK funky and club music, while the vivid square-wave textures, trance-like arpeggios, East Asian melodies and shuffling electro-ish beats of ‘Saigon’ are impossible to categorise. Lastly, ‘Prestige’ is cinematic trap, with a moody piano motif and sparse drums. Another track, ‘Yemoja’, released via Unchained Recordings, is electronic hip-hop stacked with grimy sub-bass and peppered with dramatic vocal chants. They’re all indications of a producer with no shortage of style: 2021 is surely his.
For fans of: Jaymie Silk, Gooooose, Etch
Dublin-based DJ, producer and promoter Ôneyra is familiar with the concept of change. Between relocating from Wexford to Berlin to London and back to Dublin, the roots of her sound lie in each city she once called home, inspiring her to produce fierce, pummelling and twisted techno. Outside of music, Ôneyra works as a nurse, but has managed to remain creatively connected amid a pandemic that requires her on the frontline. With releases on Sticky Ground, Unconfined Records and her own imprint Sciatic, alongside podcasts for THE BRVTALIST, Research and Jaded Disruptors, producing and mixing music is Ôneyra’s way of telling stories, evoking escapism and sharing an insight into her often-hectic world at the same time.
With the utmost resilience, drive and a relentless work ethic, Ôneyra is a name that’s here to hold firm.
For fans of: Paula Temple, Noneoftheabove, OAKE
After an impressive run of releases — in particular, their ‘Kauz’ EP on Super Hexagon and ‘IMRD’ EP on Irish label Fusion Diagnostics — over the last few years, Berlin-based Lårry continued their sharp upwards trajectory with another four-tracker ‘Nines’, set for release on new imprint Awkwardly Social this month. Although a relatively new producer on the scene, tracks like ‘Emshen’ from their latest offering display an expertise beyond their years, with undulating pulses and expansive atmospherics delivered with equanimity.
‘What Can Be Done When Nothing Can Be Done’ from the same EP bears a resemblance sonically, but the introduction of its off-kilter kicks and hoover bassline makes this particularly accessible rave fodder for when our dancefloors can finally re-open. With a release to come on BRUK entitled ‘How Was That For You’ too, Lårry is already building a solid discography — their energy-charged releases will no doubt stand them in good stead once dancefloors are back open — so watch this space!
For fans of: Bambounou, Ploy, Batu
The uplifting modern soul sound of Samii Hagos is just what we need in these gloomy winter months. She broke through in November 2020 with the immaculate ‘Figuring It Out’ EP, featuring four songs that showcased her remarkable voice and skill for song-writing. Released on 2000 Black, 4hero man Dego’s label dedicated to “genre-defying music from the African diaspora”, Samii’s songs were produced by Dego himself, as well as broken beat don Kaidi Tatham, Mr Mensah and Matt Lord. As such, these tunes have an aura of the ’80s and ’90s classics, mixed with a hyper-modern sheen of synth funk and boogie.
Drawing influences from “India Arie, Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Bobby McFerrin, Erykah Badu, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Nai Palm/ Hiatus Kaiyote”, outside of music, Samii says, “a few creative friends around me... keep me inspired.” A chance meeting with Dego at a Touching Bass event led to working on her first EP. “After a freestyle on the microphone, details were exchanged and work began,” she says. Hopefully fans won’t be waiting long for new material, as she plans “more writing and creativity so I can release more music!”
For fans of: Eska, Jill Scott, Steve Lacy
Successfully putting the overcast remnants of 2020 behind us, Kousto’s ‘Earth Embassy’ dropped on 1st January — beginning the year on a much brighter note. The French-born, UK-based producer created the single during the country’s second lockdown but it portrays the antithesis of being stuck indoors: wide, expansive chords and bright synth melodies that dance across an endless soundscape. His music first came to light under another alias — Valentin Lafont — with a track on Australian label, Beats Of No Nation, showcasing his warm and upbeat productions back in 2018.
His record ‘The Tombolo’ on Portugal’s Tombava label gained plenty of DJ support and spurred further momentum. His latest single comes on his very own Little Foot Records, marking the imprint’s fourth release. Following the first 12” vinyl ‘Step By Step’ in 2019 and the two EPs that followed, the label is now becoming a reliable home for his dreamy house music. With more time than ever before to work on his music, expect to hear plenty more from Kousto over the coming months.
For fans of: Folamour, Paxton Fettel, Jad & The