We love this category. Who To Watch resembles much of our ethos for what we do here at NEST HQ, and after a week of year-end lists looking backward into the past 12 months, we’re excited to focus instead on the horizon of 2016 in this feature, identifying 10 acts that we truly believe in and expect great things from by this time next year.
Find NEST HQ’s 10 Artists Who To Watch in 2016 below, as voted on collectively by the editors of NEST HQ.
NEST HQ’s Best of 2015: Who To Watch
*10 artists listed in alphabetical order
DESTINY BOND is a production crew made up of high school kids, Buji, Chindamo, Good Intent, Stone, and Yoshi. This year, they let loose their debut, roster-highlighting DESTINY BOND VOL. 001 compilation, which included one solo original and one remix from each of its members as well as a handful of collaborative singles. These are some of the youngest producers taking influence from acts like Sinjin Hawk, Cashmere Cat, AWE, Kanye and early Justin Timberlake. They’ve each got a really bright future, and we’re stoked to see where they end up, whether it be producing for pop acts down the line or further establishing themselves as solo acts. — FF
If you asked me what I wanted to be in 8th grade, I would have enthusiastically answered “Scientist!” Thanks to a class project, LA’s Morgan Neiman, known as DUCKY, would have answered “Musician!” and that’s exactly what she did. After dropping out of high school at age 17, she earned her BFA in recorded music at NYU, going on to cultivate a multitude of musical projects. Amongst those projects are a co-hosted radio show, a throng of music ranging from house to footwork, and RAVE TOOLZ, her weekly free download series.
As if charting on MySpace for electronic music at the age of 13 and DJing “electro bangers” at 14 doesn’t sound interesting enough, she learned basic html and css when she was only eight years old and has worked as a developer for the last two years. What makes DUCKY such a standout artist is not her lengthy history as a musician, but her math-driven mind and love of abstract exploration into concepts less-gifted artists can’t even dream of. — NB
Everything that Hotel Garuda touch is gold. The Los Angeles duo, comprised of Manila Killa and Candle Weather, have established themselves firmly in 2015 with a grip of well-produced remixes floating between sun-splashed house and gratifying pop that have racked up some seriously staggering streaming numbers. Excitingly, the project is still very much in its infancy with the guys’ first official original release still in the works, but after personally hearing some Hotel Garuda demos and WIPs this fall, I expect Chris and Aseem to soar to incredible heights in 2016. Great things will happen to these great people. – JB
IGLOOGHOST is a young UK based lad with a fascination for eyeballs — he does all his own visual artwork — and faster, bizarre yet accessible music. His output earlier this year, including the Activia Benz released “Inca Cheekbones” and “Honey Soaker” with Toby Gale, lead to his signing on Brainfeeder, where he released an EP titled, Chinese Nu Year, and along with a full album in the works. IGLOOGHOST is the closest thing we have to IDM in 2015, while shrugging off any expectations and stylistic limitations that usually come with thinky music. It’s just good ol’ fashion abstract fun. I’ve been listening to his EP and singles non-stop this year; can’t wait for the album. — FF
Louis The Child
To be honest, it doesn’t take a music expert to call this one. Chicago duo, Louis The Child, have everything going for them heading into 2016 following their breakout hit “It’s Strange” which succeeded in commanding both the Soundcloud community and basically the entire rest of the world thanks to a public co-sign from Taylor Swift and a nice sync in FIFA ‘16. Their “music that makes you happy” mentality is infectious and captivating, and in addition to hoping for some more original material in coming months, we expect these guys to hit the festival circuit hard come spring 2016. — JB
The best trap made in 2015 actually came from Japan, specifically from an artist named Masayoshi Iimori out of the Tokyo-based TREKKIE TRAX crew. Everything he touched this year was groundbreaking. His approach seemed to be, “Let’s see how far we can push this, and how crazy we can make this,” and the results, a slew of next level remixes that were undeniably his own style, defined a yet to be tread path of ADD, in your face, and unapologetic gems. They say there’s nothing new under the sun, but I’ve never heard anything like a Masayoshi track. Don’t sleep. — FF
Nina Las Vegas
Nina Las Vegas may already be an established act — up until this year she has been the voice and curator of one of the most important radio shows on the air, Triple J’s Mix Up Exclusives — but I think she deserves more credit as a producer and a champion of excellent rising artists. Toward the end of the year she launched her NLV Records platform featuring singles from Swick, Lewis Cancut, Air Max ‘97, and her own “Contagious” collaboration with Snappy Jit. Next year she has plans to release her own EP on the imprint. I can’t wait to hear it, as well as all the new treats she shares from the acts that she believes in. 2016 is going to be a big year for Nina. — FF
Isabelle Rezazadeh aka Rezz has had one of the most prominent breakouts in all of dance music this year. After uploading track after self-released track to Soundcloud with absurd consistency, her striking talents were subsequently recognized by both Skrillex and Deadmau5 who each tapped the Canadian producer for official releases on NEST and Mau5trap, respectively. Now, the self-proclaimed “weird tune” maker is poised for rapid ascension in 2016, linking with Gary Richards for the now-famous Ship 2 Ship tour while preparing her next four-track EP due out in January expected to contain some of her best material yet. – JB
Soda Island is a fictional place in a fictional world fictionally filled with real, live musicians and producers. Each of the songs released from the Island is meant to illustrate an element of the community. Their illustrator and chief visual artist, Funi, adopted for them a pleasant pastel color scheme and bubbly cartoonish personas. They have all the aesthetic elements of theme park potential.
Now, we wouldn’t be so infatuated with them if they just had surface level appeal. In fact, their sound is so deeply rooted and calculated that it’s hard to believe they haven’t already begun touring with what some inhabitants refer to as a “fully immersive live show”. Soda Island transcends music collective, “future” music, and every other stereotype you may be inclined to associate with them. If they continue the way they’ve been going, perhaps we’ll soon take a trip to the real Soda Island. — NB
Of all the young talent to grace our SoundCloud feeds this year, the Canadian brother/sister duo known as Tennyson have given us the most hope. They hold the firm belief that making what you want is priority.
Their age and ability don’t match up. Luke plays the piano like a 70-year-old compositional legend, and Tess has the creative touch of a marketing guru. The first time I heard their music was their remix of Daughter’s “Smother”. It had the kind of swing of a leaf falling from its Autumn tree and the sugary smoothness of a freshly frosted cookie. This was not a fluke, however. This was, as the rest of their music would indicate, the rise of a true talent amongst the haystack of SoundCloud’s ever-growing population. Keep your eye on Tennyson and we promise it will pay off. — NB
Find all of NEST HQ’s Best of 2015 lists via the links below —