Mixtape art: Brock Lefferts
Today I am so excited to be sharing with you the inaugural edition of our monthly No Guest List Required feature. People are constantly asking me what I am listening to that should be on their radar. To answer that question, Danger Village is now curating a monthly playlist of hot new artists that we are placing our bets on.
As a launching pad, we have created a mix of artists that you have already heard from us like Miya Folick, BISHOP and Barrie Rose, and have added a few new artists like The Wild Wild, BECA, KYYN, and Shape King that we think you should have your attention.
In the past, my seasonal mixes included the first songs from many artists who went on to become successful artists: Chvrches, Lorde, Banks, SOHN, Benjamin Clementine, Neon Indian, Jungle, Jagwar Ma, and many more. Our No Guest List Required feature seeks to draw attention to more new artists that we think you should be watching out for.
Thank you for listening and checking out more from each artist! Please share the songs and playlist.
1. Goldroom – “Till Sunrise”
Tastefully rising and falling with its sun-drenched instrumental, “Embrace” is an exquisite piece of pop music. The vocals from Mammals twist and turn at will, carrying the song’s sticky melodies and undeniable chorus.
2. The Wild Wild – “When We Were Young”
With vibrant synths and vocals darting in and out, “When We Were Young” is exciting, danceable pop, as relatable as the subject it covers: the sun-splashed days of youth and summer.
5. Miya Folick – “Oceans”
A reflection on fighting off the fear and panic associated with potential and desire, “Oceans” is a dimly lit daydream that builds to a biting rock ballad, trembling with emotion over a ghostly, echoing guitar.
7. KYYN – “Walk On Water”
Backed by sparse production, KYYN’s sultry vocals welcomes the listener into her dark and brooding world. Her voice ranges from soaring to an intimate whisper to a stirring and haunting effect.
8. Shape King – “We Are Together”
From its whimsical opening keyboard line to the gloriously chaotic ending, “We Are Together” is brimming with good vibes and a charming ode to love without ever being syrupy or saccharine.
9. Greg Hvnsen – “What Would You Have Me Do”
Taking electronic music’s charming elements, “What Would You Have Me Do” is masterfully crafted with its earnest hooks, breezy demeanor and an exuberant instrumental break.
10. Barrie Rose – “Laffy Taffy”
Built upon a foundation of an infectious hook, throbbing synths and a touch of harp, “Laffy Taffy” is a poignant track that affirms Barrie’s unwavering commitment to her artistic aspirations.
MØ, Goldroom and Beth at the Danger Village SXSW showcase 2014
With each playlist, we’ll be including a song and three question interview from one of our legacy Danger Village artists. This month, we have been honored to have Goldroom answer a few questions that I have been wanting to talk to him about for a while. I started working with Goldroom in 2012 to release his song “Fifteen.” Together, we developed his career and Danger Village was proud to land him press placements on Pitchfork, FADER, USA Today, MTV, The Guardian, Last Call With Carson Daly, The LA Weekly, NYLON and many more notable outlets. I also was able to introduce him to MØ and Alpine, and Goldroom crafted two of his most memorable remixes of those artists.
I have noticed a lot of hit songs now using piano synth lines that sound like what we were promoting from your music three years ago. What do you think of the current trends of Tropical House hitting mainstream music and do you think that EDM has hit its peak?
I think it very much depends on how you define a “peak”. We all know things move in cycles, and I’m sure there is a generation of kids getting older that think that standing around watching a DJ is the lamest thing you could ever do. The idea that EDM festivals will continue to be the gathering locations for the entire youth of America is pretty silly. We’ve probably seen the peak of that world. But that said, we’ve crossed a threshold with electronic music within popular culture to the point that I think you can say across all music fans that people aren’t scared or turned off by electronic sounds anymore. If you had synths in your music 10 years ago, you could just write off reaching a significant group of people. Thanks to EDM’s rise over the past 5 years, I don’t think that barrier exists anymore, which is great for me and anyone else making music with synthesizers.
As for Tropical House, I think the term and most of the music is incredibly corny. Like a lot of flash-in-the-pan music genres, its built on a vibe and a feeling and not so much at all in songwriting and writing important and timeless music. To be honest I don’t relate to most of it so I’m glad that my name has stayed pretty outside of that conversation. It’s definitely a bit of a bummer to have marimbas and congas used to blatantly to appropriate a vibe and a vibe alone.
You started off as a solo artist and now are playing big festivals with a full band. How does the process work in translating your music to a live setting, and does this affect your songwriting process?
I try as hard as possible to not let the live show influence the songwriting at all. Having been lucky enough to play in festival settings, I think it’s really easy to start to imagine playing
festival songs. You see it a lot in dance music, where producers will start make obviously club or festival friendly music once they’ve started to play a lot of shows, even though the music that got them their popularity in the first place came from their hearts, in their studios.
In writing my record, which I’m wrapping up now, I was really careful to separate the writing process from the fact that I’ll be playing it live. I want to write music that people will be playing for years on their record players. The way I see it, my job as songwriter/producer and my job as live band director are two completely separate jobs. I have to deal with how to play these songs only after they’re completely done.
I’ve always been in bands, and so the Goldroom live show really reflects that. We play as a six piece band, with tons of live percussion, real synths, guitars and bass. We’re bringing a live experience that’s pretty outside of the normal electronic space, and I think it starts and ends with the personalities on stage. I play with some incredibly talented people, and its the sum of our parts that makes the live show great.
At the Grammy’s we saw that all of Taylor Swift’s producers were men, and it’s unusual to see women like Grimes who are in charge of all of their production. How would you encourage young women to get into production and what do you think can be done to even the playing field for men and women for the future?
There are lots of unfortunate barriers that keep women from going down that road. They’re usually encouraged to be the face but not the brains, which is a huge bummer. I’m sure that has been true forever. The difference was, for someone like Joan Baez, there was a fairly obvious path. She just needed to pick up a guitar and learn how to play it. That feels like a tangible goal. Learning how to produce complicated music on a computer is an almost Herculean task if you’re looking at it from square one. So I think its pretty easy to discourage girls who are just getting started.
My advice would be the same advice I’d give you a guy asking me the same question. Start working! Start trying things! Most of the music you’ll make will suck, but very slowly you’ll get better and better. There’s no substitute for the work in this case, because it is hard to make electronic music.