By Sahib Quraishi, Emma Kauffman & Malcs
As many of you are undoubtedly aware, the world famous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is fast approaching. Taking place once again over two weekends (April 10-12 & April 17-19), “C’chella” has become known for its consistently unique and diverse lineups—a trait that has undoubtedly contributed to its designation as one of the world’s preeminent music festivals. When the lineup drops, music fanatics across the world take to the internet to dissect, compare, rate, and speculate about everything from possible guest appearances to potential scheduling conflicts; we, of course, will be no different. After careful debate and deliberation, we have compiled our list of the top 10 electronic music acts to see at Coachella 2015.
10. Jon Hopkins
Starting off our list is English producer and musician Jon Hopkins. Following the release of his 4th LP ‘Immunity’, Hopkins embarked on a rigorous worldwide tour that landed him a spot in Resident Advisor’s list of top 20 live acts of 2013—a list he would return to in 2014 as well. Hopkins often utilizes home-recorded samples along with acidic techno synths and ambient pianos to build his tracks. “We Disappear” begins with the sounds of Hopkins’ entering his London studio and approaching his production rig. From there, the song drops into a glitched-out, broken-beat dance floor shaker so intense that it rumbles the floor below. He’s low on the line up, but don’t be surprised to see him play a late slot in one of the tents.
It’s no secret that we’re fans of Montreal’s Kaytranada—his show back in May 2014 was one of our favourites of the year! His ability to create a seamless mosaic of hip-hop, disco, RnB and soul is what truly sets him apart. Much of his style of production emulates the sounds of the RnB and hip-hop scene during the late 90s. His use of upbeat electronic music infused with classic vocals from the likes of Jill Scott and Missy Elliot keeps audiences on their feet and dancing into the wee hours of the night. Without a doubt, his brand of electro-funk will have the Coachella crowd bouncing.
8. Jamie XX
After years of singles, DJ mixes, and his Gil Scott-Heron remix album, the producer and beat maker behind The xx, Jamie xx, is preparing to release his debut solo album in June this year. His signature sound—that which makes Jamie xx, Jamie xx—is his innovative use of the steel drum. Look no further than his 2014 single “All Under One Roof Raving” to see what we mean.
If you caught Odesza in the Grove at last year’s Shambhala Festival, then you’re already well aware of why they’ve made our Coachella must-see list. The American duo picked up even more momentum this past September with the release of their second album “In Return”. After mesmerizing the Do Lab in 2014, it’s no surprise to see them back on the polo fields this year featured on Coachella’s main roster.
6.Tale of us
As is often the case when musical innovators are concerned, Tale of Us have an aesthetic that is both instantly recognizable and impossible to describe without feeling clumsy and inadequate. Drawing influence from house, techno, disco, and even rock, the duo once described their music as “underground pop”. Whatever you like to call it, there’s no denying the pair’s mastery of powerful, emotive melodies that drive songs that are often more adequately described as journeys than songs. In their own words: “All good music should tell a story: a tale of experience…of joy…of love lost and won—a tale of us.”
Coachella will mark one of their first stops after a self-imposed touring hiatus to finish their debut album, so expect to hear loads of never-before-heard material in (what will presumably be) the Yuma tent.
5. Hot Natured
Initially comprised of Hot Creations co-founders Jamie Jones and Lee Foss, and later joined by vocalist Ali Love and fellow producer Luca Cazal, Hot Natured have propelled themselves to the forefront of popular house music with a sound infused with disco, house, pop, and soul. Their 2013 single “Reverse Skydiving”, featuring Anabel Englund, rose to #56 on the UK charts, and tells a mystical tale of a person floating in the atmosphere—boundless, timeless and utterly content—not only via the lyrics, but also by the seamless patchwork of eclectic sounds which convey a feeling of weightlessness. And to make their appearance even more exciting, the house music supergroup have hinted that a “newer & hotter” live show is in the works.
Dan Snaith, the Canadian musician better known as “Caribou”, released his sixth studio album “Our Love” this past year and was charted by Resident Advisor as one of the top live acts of 2014. “Our Love” is Snaith’s most personal work to date, with lyrics heavily inspired by the birth of his daughter. The album’s sounds and vocals evoke the sentiments of love, passion, loss and jealousy—themes which resonate intimately with a diverse audience. Expect a blissful journey of both emotive and energizing tracks when Caribou takes the stage this year.
3. Claude VonStroke
Claude VonStroke is set to play Coachella for the first time ever this year. And to make matters even dirtier, 2015 marks the tenth anniversary of his wildly successful dirtybird label. His third and most recent studio album “Urban Animal”—which embraced both beefy and beautiful downtempo sounds—is based around a concept of a city dweller taking refuge from the monotony of everyday life in the dungiest of warehouses, escaping the constraints of society by drowning them out through the use of heavy woofers that shake and shutter the darkest and smokiest of venues. Although VonStroke was expected to play the Yuma tent when he first appeared on the line up, he has recently announced on Twitter that he will be playing in the biggest tent of the festival, the Sahara. This tent has gained the reputation of being the commercial “EDM”, or big-room rave stage, so his presence there will be a refreshing change of pace. Expect a mix of deep house, techno, and of course, some signature dirtybird basslines.
French techno artist Gesaffelstein is set to bring his live set to the polo fields for the first and possibly last time, as the Lyons producer recently announced that his Coachella 2015 set would be his last live performance ever (though it remains unclear whether he will continue to tour as a DJ). His signature dark, heavy, and martial tones could easily be mistaken as a hybrid of Justice and techno pioneer Frank Tovey. These sounds have reached across seas, countries and continents, and have led many to crown him as the dark prince of techno. If this indeed is his last live set, you would be absolutely out of your mind to miss this experience. It is HIGHLY recommended that you enter Gesaffelstein’s realm of darkness to finish off yet another year of Coachella, and if you still need convincing, check out the video below.
1. J.E.S.u.S (Jackmaster, Eats Everything, Skream, und Seth Troxler)
Coachella is always known for having exclusive artists with a big wow factor on their lineup, and this is no different. J.E.S.u.S, a group that has played together only a few times, is comprised of four of the finest house & DJs in the business. In case you didn’t know, we are referring to Jackmaster, Eats Everything, Skream and Seth Troxler. If God were to create a techno baby in his image, this rare super group would be His immaculate virgin birth creation. We don’t know how many shows this quartet will be playing together, but it’s not hard to see that this is a rare, once in a lifetime experience that will blow your ears and mind. Save some energy on Sunday night for these Yuma gods. You have been warned.
Other notable electronic performers include Todd Terje, Squarepusher, Gorgon City, Erol Alkan, MK, SBTRKT, Tycho, Chet Faker, Ratatat, Duke Dumont, Guy Gerber, John Talabot, Dubfire and many, many more.
Hope to see you beautiful people on the Polo Fields!