Why these 5 DJs deserve your attention

Geometric illustrations by me. A representation of how electronic music make me feel.

One of the few things that people know about me is that I go to concerts on an almost weekly basis. I go with my partner in crime, Joe, because our New Year’s resolution in 2016 was to go to at least 1 concert a month. That quickly and easily turned into 3–4 a month. I know it sounds crazy, but we actually did it and ended up seeing around 60–70 concerts last year.

So you can just imagine the hustle we put into finding new music. We are constantly on the look out for the next big artist, no matter the genre. There’s always something happening if you know where to look and if you’re open to try new things. I’m going to write about how to find these special gems in another post, but for now, we’re going to dive into the 5 DJs that I’ve seen live and that have truly changed the electronic scene.

Electronic Dance Music or EDM is an umbrella genre of a wide array of percussive bass music. Some hit harder than others and most producers add their own flair to their sound. And if I’m going to be honest, there are now so many sub genres within this mother of a genre to enumerate. Some of these DJs’ styles are quite unique so I am going to try and capture what their genre is as best as I can.

One: Big Gigantic

From: Boulder, Colorado 
Soundcloud followers: 192k
Genre: Electronic Hiphop and Jazz

I first heard of Big Gigantic’s track The Little Things (posted below) at a friend’s UFC party. It was playing in the background while we were having dinner. It was love at first note. I’ve never heard anything like them. It was electrifying and unbelievably distinct. There’s a strong influence of jazz and I could feel the soulful melody in my veins. Joe and I haven’t stopped listening to them since.

When we heard that they were going to be at Pemberton Music Festival, we knew we needed to see them. In fact, they were the ones we were most excited to see. To say that they completely blew our minds is an understatement. They were incredible. The most amazing part of the whole experience was their energy. Big Gigantic or to be more specific, Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken absolutely killed it. They were playing instruments live on stage — Dominic on the sax and Jeremy on the drums. The crowd could feel each and every vibration that night and I still swoon every time I think about their performance.

Their light show was amazing too, if I do say so myself. They were so eclectic and down right stupefying. It doesn’t help that we were right in front and centre for all this.

Listen to them and tell me you don’t feel something.

Two: Excision

From: Kelowna, British Columbia
Soundcloud followers: 416k
Genre: Heavy Dubstep

I’m going to preface this by saying that Excision is not for everyone. He is probably the heaviest DJ you will ever encounter (at least so far). One of the things that really sets him apart is his visuals. They are absolutely stunning. I’m not sure who makes them for him but they animate in time with his music and the effect is just nuts. He is the only producer I know that uses projection mapping in all his performances. It’s simply breathtaking.

Joe and I actually took a chance on him and bought tickets to his show because he was highly recommended by a coworker of ours. He knew we loved bass and he told us that he has seen Excision 9 times. We were so intrigued we didn’t even bother to look him up on Spotify. Really though, we’re also always down to support local artists.

I’m going to straight up tell you right now — if you look him up and you don’t like dubstep, you’re not going to appreciate him. But I am also going to assure you right now that in the tons of shows and artists we’ve seen in all sorts of genres, he is still #2 for us. The energy he brings is intoxicating, you could feel the air around you pulsing.


From: Denver, Colorado
Soundcloud followers: 294k
Genre: Melodic Bass and Dubstep

ILLENIUM is a boss, plain and simple. I had no expectations from this guy when we went to see him in person. Joe found him randomly on his Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist and the rest of it, as they say, is history. We immediately fell in love with his beautiful melodic style. Subtle and delicate at first, then the beat drops and you realize that he’s 100x more talented than you originally thought he was.

His remixes are truly some of the best in the industry. When I first started listening to him, he sounded a bit like Flux Pavilion to me. But when we saw him live, he was definitely his own person. He has a little bit of hip hop and trap in his sound, which makes him even more remarkable in his craft. His rhythm was just intoxicating. I felt chills right to my very core. So much so that I know that I will never forget how I felt that night.

Four: REZZ

From: Toronto, Ontario
Soundcloud followers: 72.2k
Genre: Heavy Techno Dance

The best thing about REZZ is that she doesn’t impose upon herself. What I mean by that is that she’s probably one of the most down to earth people you will chance upon. To be clear I haven’t met her in person but I’ve seen a lot of her interviews and how she interacts with her fans, she’s just… weird. And I like that, a lot. Because I am also very weird. It’s not like she has nothing to brag about either, she only started making music in 2013 and she was quickly picked up by mau5trap, Deadmau5' record label (also Canadian). There are so many amazing Canadian producers — I love it! Makes my heart all giddy.

We saw REZZ last Sunday at Celebrities on Davie in Vancouver and boy, let me tell you — she was everything I thought she was going to be: INSANELY GOOD. Her distinct techno beats and stellar performance left me no choice but to bump Odesza down in my top 5. It was packed in there and as far as you could see, every single person in the venue was bumping side to side.

Five: Odesza

From: Seattle, Washington
Soundcloud followers: 623k
Genre: Electronic

Odesza will forever and always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve been a fan since they started out — I followed this sensational duo in 2012 knowing in my heart that they were going to become huge; and that they did. When we saw them live at Squamish Music Festival, they were easily our #1 pick. That was the night Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight would change my life forever, in more ways than one.

They played these ginormous drums live. It was an unforgettable sight. Pretty majestic, if you ask me. Oh man, I get goosebumps every time I hear them on my Spotify because I can clearly visualize the first night I saw them with the smoke billowing around them, the purple and pink lights dancing through the crowd, and the tenderness of the grass on my skin. Their sound has been and always will be very distinct, their melody exceptional. You will unfailingly know them by ear because they have this undeniable sound. I honestly can’t express how much I love them.

Do you like electronic music as well? If so, what kind and why? Who would you recommend I listen to? Leave me a comment below! I absolutely would love to discover new and exciting people to watch out for. Hope you check these guys out because they 100% deserve all the attention and hype in the world.

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