Every year, the music world sees countless lists attempting to pin down the top albums, tops singles, top artists, and the like, all of whom deserve mention for their contributions to music in some way or another. It’s a rather difficult feat that music critics take on to hone in on their editorial picks — yet an important process nonetheless. This time of year, we sit back and reflect not only on the past 365 days in music, but on the artists who’ve really made their mark on the music world and solidified their name for years to come.
Before we make another cycle around the sun, Conscious Electronic presents our Artists to Watch in 2019.
Of The Trees
Fresh off the release of his mind-bending Harvest EP, Maine producer Tyler Coombs, known as Of The Trees, has been known for consistently releasing a host of remixes and original music and will be hitting the ground running in the new year. 2018 saw Of The Trees him participating in an exhausting live performance schedule. He hit a variety of festivals across the country and played shows alongside other heavy hitters in the bass scene such as ill.Gates, Digital Ethos, Esseks, Shlump and more, and also completing a tour he shared with DMVU. Starting in 2019, he goes on tour with rising bass music star Charlesthefirst.
Working with established labels like Gravitas and Liquid Stranger’s Wakaan, Of the Trees has a unique psychedelic brand that leaves a mark on any track he touches. Floating easily between styles and collaborating with a host of different producers, his versatile output spans a range of genres that has every live show sounding different. Known for pushing the envelope of sound design, his popularity among fellow producers, labels, and fans alike should see him rumbling subwoofers for a long time to come.
Canadian-born multi-genre producer Ekali has been making waves for some time in the electronic music world. Signed to Skrillex’s label OWSLA, he’s known by producers for his frequent free releases of his homebrewed mashups and edits, and by fans for his beloved “Awakening” mix series, which just passed its sixth volume this month.
Ekali released his debut EP Crystal Eyes in the second half of this year, embarking on a tour of the same name that featured the likes of Slumberjack, Jaron, and up-and-comer 1788-L. Mixing everything from dubstep to house, trap, and hip hop, Ekali’s live shows have quickly become known as a grab bag of musical experiences, almost always laced with his signature mashups. His chart-topping collaboration with ZHU, “Blame,” came out only just this year, and Ekali has continued to gain more momentum and fans with every release. The long-awaited collaboration “Ruin” with 1788-L was featured on the newest “Awakening” mix and is due to be released soon, undoubtedly with much more on the horizon.
Chloe Herry has been making waves in the electronic music scene for some time. A longtime guitar player, CloZee’s music features influences from all over the world, which is no surprise as she originally hails from Toulouse, France, near the border of Spain and a short ways from both the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Fusing tribal trap, trip hop, world, and bass music, she’s been taking listeners on journeys this year on her recent Evasion tour all across the US, Canada, and many other countries.
Typically known for her organic, positive vibe, she took that same energy into the creation of her debut album, which was released in October of this year. A melodic, soaring but down to earth project, she used samples from all across the world to contribute to her tribal sound. At times intense, at others tender, the album expertly plucks and vibrates its way across a vast sonic landscape. Beginning her 2019 with a run of dates in Australia, then returning to the Western Hemisphere to play Envision festival in the jungle of Costa Rica, look for CloZee to continue her musical adventures through the coming year and beyond.
Joey Verrando is already somewhat of a cult hero in his hometown of South Dallas. He’s been called “the brash new face of dubstep” by critics for his unrelenting blend of UK dubstep and riddim-laced beats, and he’s just at the start of his explosive rise onto the electronic dance music world. HE$H‘s aggressively unique sound has begun earning him national notoriety on the Blunt & Blondes tour, as well as on the Wobbleland and Lost Lands line-ups. For those paying attention, he’s been one of Jeff Abel’s favorite newcomers to include on his shows because his brand of dubstep falls so nicely in line with Excision’s soundstamp. Look for him thrashing around dubstep’s major global music markets for in London, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Grand Rapids. Next up for the rising act is his homecoming appearance at Dallas’ Lights All Night.
Twenty-three year old Jenaux (Eugene Veltman) has been composing, producing, and performing electronic dance music for six years. So he’s hardly a newcomer, but makes our list nonetheless. Beyond opening for some of EDM’s most beloved acts, including Porter Robinson, Zedd, Laidback Luke, and Knife Party, he’s played New York City’s infamous Webster Hall and has become an Insomniac favorite at events like EDC Las Vegas.
As a New Jersey native, Jenaux has been a classically trained musician since the age of five and has been incorporating those elements into his productions in his current stomping grounds inside the Big Apple. It’s a sonic identity that makes it impossibly hard to pin a genre onto Jenaux’s sound, but one that has roots in classic jazz and funky, soulful house. Be on the lookout for new music from Jenaux in early 2019 as Veltman has been steadily releasing singles about a month apart.
One might argue that 2018 was Whethan‘s breakout year in dance music. The 19 year old Chicago native played Coachella’s Sahara tent, was wildly successful on his North American Life of a Wallflower tour, and released his debut EP by the same name via Atlantic Records. But, in reality, Whethan has had a defining year every year since he first splashed into the scene in 2016. There is no reason to believe that the melodic bass newcomer will not continue having another stellar year in 2019, which is said to be the year of his follow-up EP lands, Life of a Wallflower Vol. 2.
Arguably WAKAAN’s strongest newcomer, free form bass music producer Peekaboo has enjoyed some of the most memorable breakout moments of 2019. The Detroit-based artist was catapulted into the limelight upon his heavy Bassnectar collaboration, “Disrupt the System.” Amongst sold-out touring dates and countless festival appearances all year long, he released two 4-track EPs under Liquid Stranger’s imprint: Imposters and Maniac, respectively. Heading into 2019 as one of bass music’s must-see rising acts, Peekaboo continues to demonstrate his sound design prowess and left-field musicality to no other degree.
Australian beat maker Paul Fisher has had a rather unfathomable year, to say the least. He put down his Cut Snake duetted project to sign on with Claude Von Stroke’s Dirtybird under his solo moniker, Fisher. With superbly produced teach house creations in “Stop It,” “Crowd Control,” and Leon Musk’s favorite, “Losing It,” Fisher swiftly became a festival favorite over the course of summer. Now he’s solidified his place at the table of dance music elites with a Grammy nod for the same track.
Hailing from New York, Wooli has pushed boundaries of bass music since 2015. Otherwise known as Adam Puleo, the dubstep producer has grown his fanbase with each performance in 2019. In addition to working with Snails on the cheeky stomper, “Snailephant,” Wooli released his forward thinking Mammoth EP recently on Never Say Die, which has been said to be taking back creativity in the oversaturated and repetitive dubstep market. With support from top industry bass music tastemakers such as FuntCase, Jantsen, Zeds Dead, and Excision, his music offers a refreshing take on bass music, fusing unrelenting wubs with tear-jerking melodic dubstep. For these reasons alone, expect to see Wooli at the top of his game in 2019.
The indisputable leader of breakout talent this year has been enigmatic bass music producer 1788-L. Before March, no one had even an inkling of an idea who the mysterious producer was. Now his glitched-out heavy bass productions have made their way onto REZZ’s Certain Kind of Magic album and Illenium’s “Sound of Where’d You Go” Awake remix album. The Dallas-based producer is master of masking his identity, yet staying prominent in the spotlight. He’s played a surprise headlining set at Das Energi, jumped on stage with Zeds Dead, and released his debut EP on Deadbeats Records. He’s delivered incredibly popular remixes of The Glitch Mob, Daft Punk, and Skrillex. Now he’s earned himself placement on many huge incoming line-ups, including Decadence, Lights All Night, and BUKU, with many more surely on the way. This is one artist who will be making moves and taking names in 2019 as he continues his expert anonymous marketing campaign that is on pace with that of marshmello.
Charles Elias Ingalls has been gaining so much ground under his Charlesthefirst moniker that it could be likened to a vast tundra. The 22-year-old Lake Tahoe-native grew up inspired by the beautiful Sierra Nevadas he called home and that certainly shines through in his music. In fact, he uses field recording in order to capture organic sounds and sample them in his music. Ingalls’ music in so entrenched in natural elements that it becomes icy and bleak at times, at other times warm and crisp. Throughout any given track’s progression, it feels a lot like passing through the darkness of nightfall and remerging into dawning of sunrise. It’s entirely cyclical like the seasons. It’s also wildly imaginative and meditative, like standing out on a cliff and taking in a breathtaking mountain landscape. With roots in hip-hop elements, and heavily influenced by natural tribal instrumentation, Charlesthefirst is certainly making a name for himself as a transcendent beat maker.