As our Best of 2016 superlatives come to a close here at NEST HQ, we are excited to announce our final category, Who to Watch. These artists represent the new blood of electronic music, and all 10 of these emerging acts show promise in pushing the genre forward. By this time next year, you might be hearing some of these folks on the radio or seeing them headline the biggest clubs in your city. Time will only tell, but if their progression in 2016 is any indicator of future success, we’re confident that 2017 will be the biggest year yet for all of these talented girls & guys.
Read on for NEST HQ’s 10 artists to watch in 2017, and find all six of our Best of 2016 categories here.
NEST HQ’s Best of 2016: Who To Watch
*10 artists listed in alphabetical order
Before forming the production supergroup Born Dirty last year, Berklee-educated Linden Jay made his name as musical director for Sinead Harnett and touring with Foreign Beggars, turntablist DJ Q-bert, and dubstep beatboxer Reeds One. Son of Kick, meanwhile, was a known entity in the UK dubstep scene who started twisting a hint of hip-hop into his music and soon found himself producing way beyond the planes of dubstep. Since their formation, they’ve been on a mission to spread as far across the dance music spectrum as possible. Their first record “Don’t Stop Get It” featuring Kid Sister took on a life of its own after releasing on NEST last year, being licensed by Apple to lead a Macbook Pro campaign this year, and was quickly followed by Shift K3Y collaboration “Misbehave” on Dim Mak.
They’ve been on a tear this year, opening it with torrential knocker “Check Your Bell”, the closing track off Dirtybird’s BBQ: Secret Sauce compilation, and following that up with heat on Way Way and Night Bass. After proving they can produce all sorts of hard-hitting tunes with complex results, they returned to their early work’s squelchy, tripped-out aesthetic with a string of releases on Point Point’s Record Record label, starting with the Jakwob collaboration, “Blind When I Dance”. It’s clear that Born Dirty can navigate freely within the scene, so now it’s about where they will choose to go in the new year. — NR
The 17-year-old New York City native, Callie Reiff, has had a hell of a year. Her forceful productions saw release on Fool’s Gold and NEST, which caught the attention of industry heavyweights like A-Trak, Skrillex, and The Chainsmokers. Her residency at the famed NYC venue, Webster Hall, revealed an ability to command a crowd and translate the energy found in her music into extended sets. For someone in her junior year of high school, Callie’s work ethic is inspiring, as she doesn’t go more than a couple months without offering up some kind of musical output. As 2017 approaches, Callie Reiff is poised for a breakout year for both musical development and touring, and we’re excited to watch it happen. – JB
With appearances across the board on this year’s Best Of lists, it should be no surprise to see DROELOE as a premiere talent to watch in 2017. The Dutch duo made their breakthrough earlier this year on San Holo’s Bitbird with “zZz”, raking up over 4 million plays in total on Spotify and Soundcloud. They’ve truly hit the ground running, continuing with a stream of consistent releases including tracks on Elysian and Monstercat which explore heavier, more bass-driven territories. In each release, however, the pair demonstrate a remarkable ability to paint rich, visual narratives and create expansive soundscapes. They’ve already mentioned touring is a top priority in the upcoming year, and we can’t wait to visualize the integration of these narratives into a life performance. Don’t miss out. — CS
When I first heard Flamingosis, I wanted to keep his music a well-guarded secret that I could use during stressful times. My conscience got the best of me and I knew I had to share it with the world. I did so organically, however, dropping hints to friends here and there and sneaking in a couple tracks in the office playlist. People caught on almost immediately, and my sneaking suspicion of Flamingosis’ mass appeal was validated. But that’s the beauty of his work. It’s the kind of music you want to stumble upon or hear from a reliable co-signer. It’s the kind of music you want to play when you’re relaxing on the weekend or de-stressing from a long day. It’s stoop music, hip-hop infused beats arranged with classic soul and R&B samples. Flamingosis is for the old-soul musicians and hopeful hip-hop enthusiasts. Rather than hands-in-the-air club music, you feel the strength and power of the rhythm and groove. I know we’ve pushed the NOT FAST ENOUGH narrative for a while, but the LET’S JUST CHILL storyline is just as fascinating and important. With Flamingosis, you get the best of classic and modern boom bap. I wouldn’t dare compare him to J-Dilla, but I’m sure the two would have been very good friends. – NB
Honolulu-based artist graves got his start at the very top of the musical food chain. He began as Kanye’s assistant, running errands for him for about a year before working his way into the studio where he went on to engineer 5-6 of Kanye’s albums between 2008 and 2013. He even won a Grammy for his work with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. In 2013, he branched off to work on his own electronic-inspired sound after first hearing Skrillex. Since that time, he’s been recognized by EDC’s Discovery Project, which offered him a massive starting boost and a chance to play the main stage at EDC New York. Since then, he’s worked tirelessly to master his own style of bass music, distinguished by anthemic percussion and hyper clean production. graves has some big plans for 2017, so make sure to keep a watchful eye on what’s to come. — NB
London-native JOYRYDE pulled up in 2016 as less of a singular artist and more of a broadly focused, multi-media project. He made the internet stop and pay attention with throbbing, melodically glitchy, and uniquely car-themed releases like “Hot Drum” and “Fuel Tank”. It feels like all of his releases have been building towards his debut live show, which will feature his signature 1969 Dodge Charger stage design at Webster Hall in New York City December 30th. His rallying cry since the show was announced has been, “CALLING ALL RYDERZ”, or C.A.R. for short. Strap in because he’s got a three track EP with three individual videos that will all be linked together coming on OWSLA in 2017. Til then let “Damn”, his latest release with Freddie Gibbs, tide you over til it drops. — MH
Coming in hard this year with a laundry list of fire collabs with the likes of Boombox Cartel, Dabow, Gladiator, JINCO and more, the New Zealand-based producer proved he has range as no two releases can be said to have quite the same vibe. But on each one he works in the QUIX signature, hyper-metallic sounding leads which make his production chops distinguishable, an impressive feat that’s made his music a go-to for Skrillex, Dillon Francis and RL Grime when crafting live sets over the past year. His release on NEST x OWSLA “The Cut” is a futuristic frenzy of “no frills bass music” – get it for free download here. — MH
A handful of young producers carved the landscape which allowed for the revival of dubstep in 2016, and at the forefront is 19-year old North Carolina native, Ray Volpe. You might have heard his original “Full Control” in Excision’s annual Shambhala Mix, taken from his debut Bipolar EP which featured his own original vocals on record for the first time. Throughout the course of the year, Ray’s sound design and production capabilities have matured to match that of the professionals, but the quality which separates his work is his bold integrity. His tracks have rich layers of emotion, and the vocal work is borderline reminiscent of 2000’s emo music – all with that razor sharp, modern sound design. Having recently been picked up by the management behind Borgore and Getter, and leading booking agency AM Only, we can only imagine what this young talent has in store for 2017. — CS
Ethan Snoreck aka Whethan broke out last year with a string of synth-heavy remixes, but 2016 saw the young producer from Chicago solidify his spot in the scene with a trio of top-notch original works. His ability to produce with vocalists in “Can’t Hide”, “When I’m Down”, and the Flux Pavilion co-production, “Savage”, sees Whethan moving well into the pop realm, which bodes well for his impending crossover potential. If we had to bet on it, we’d say Whethan should be on the level of folks like Louis The Child or even The Chainsmokers by this time next year if he keeps it up. — JB
Vancouver-based WHIPPED CREAM is a name that many NEST frequenters are probably familiar with, as we’ve been premiering her tunes continuously throughout this year. She crafts these never-ending vortexes of chaos and contortion, with a sense for overwhelming presence in her bass. The records have influences from Jersey and juke to world and bass while accessing some Neolithic rhythms in their momentum. Her DJing skills are equally wicked as well, having started on the decks before transitioning into production: her set at British Columbia’s Shambhala festival made waves, and just this month she made her LA debut for R3LL’s Certified club night. From the reaction we’re seeing to that set and her music in general, we can see that Caroline’s setting herself up for a long artistic and touring career. — NR
Find all of NEST HQ’s Best of 2016 lists via the links below: