21 rising British producers it's time you knew
© Nic Kane
From grime to UK Afrobeats, techno to jazz, these are the producers pushing British music forwards.
The UK has always been at the forefront of dance and electronic music, an incubator for new sounds and new scenes – and 2017 is looking bright. In the piece below, some of Red Bull's favourite writers have selected the up-and-coming producers pushing British music forwards.
The following selections were made by: Manu Ekanayake, Jack Garofalo, Josh Hall, Ian McQuaid, Shaneil Patel, Louis Pattison, Phillip Williams and Rachael Williams.
1. Proc Fiskal
Hailing from Edinburgh, Proc Fiskal – real name Joe Powers – is gearing up to drop his first release, an EP titled The Highland Mob, on Hyperdub. While rooted in grime, its four tracks show off an ingenious range of influences – the twitchy 160BPM rhythms of footwork, the experimental sound palette of IDM, the crisp melodies of digital dub. The EP drops May 5, but you can listen to a track of his right now as part of Red Bull Studios’ Riddim Rally. (LP)
2. Shanti Celeste
Bristol’s Shanti Celeste has enjoyed a rapid rise since her debut. Need Your Lovin’ (Baby) was a compelling slice of dusty, drums-and-vocal driven house, but since then both her productions and her DJing have become even more rounded and confident. Her 2014 Resident Advisor mix was an early high point, with a groove perfectly suited for the warmer months. Now her touring schedule sees her playing across Europe and beyond virtually every weekend, but it’s hard to imagine her better suited to any venue than Panorama Bar, where she made her debut last year alongside Gerd Janson and Mister Saturday Night. (JH)
It’s hard to imagine Shanti Celeste better suited to any venue than Panorama Bar
With radio plays on Friction’s Radio 1 D&B show and releases on the likes of Technique and Renegade Hardware, the Hastings-based DJ/Producer is definitely one to watch in 2017. Check out his Four Corners mix which pulled in four different MC – Harry Shotta, Visionobi, Tali and Coppa – in a heavyweight mix of 174BPM bass weight. (SP)
Part of Terror Danjah’s Hardrive Records crew, Trends teamed up with Boylan last year to drop an instant grime classic in the shape of Norman Bates (its name a reference to the chilling, Psycho-esque violin stabs that run throughout the track). Head over to his Soundcloud to download his I’ll Buss Ur Head EP, or listen to him ruling the airwaves on Rinse FM with original grime don Slimzee below. (PW)
Cutting his teeth at the much renowned Ape Media in Stratford, Jae5 quickly gained notoriety for his eclectic production technique, combining elements of everything from classical to dancehall to grime. Lately, he’s emerged as go-to beatmaker for J Hus, supplying productions like Did You See, Clean It Up and Playing Sports. Expect to hear his anticipated debut solo release in the near future. (JG)
6. Sam Gellaitry
Stirling’s Sam Gellaitry is barely 20, but he’s already making music that sounds like Lucky Me meeting Quincy Jones at a soundtrack convention. Orchestral and heavy on the bass, Jungle Waters, the opener of his third and final Escapism EP for XL, showcases the skills he’s honed since he dropped his first EP, Short Stories, on Soulection at just 18. A production prodigy who left school just two years ago, we’d say education's loss is music’s gain. (ME)
With her seminal party collective Legendary Children, ELLES has been quietly shaping east London nightlife before you even knew where Dalston was. More recently she has emerged as a producer, releasing records and undertaking remixes. Since then she’s teamed up with Violet to release International Women’s Day cover versions of male-led house tracks including Egyptian Lover, Joe Smooth and Mike Dunn, and she’s set to release on Paramida’s Love On The Rocks label later this year. (RW)
8. Knox Brown
Knox Brown might not yet be a household name, but he’s already worked with Jay Z, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Aloe Blacc and Wretch 32, so he’s clearly finding the right ears. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica before settling in the West Midlands when he was 12, the young Knox has gone about business steadily but assuredly, releasing the Anderson.Paak collab No Slaves last year, before following it up with the powerful Reignite featuring Gallant. (JG)
9. Lanark Artefax
Young Glaswegian producer Lanark Artefax bridges the gap between a host of voguish styles. His Glasz EP, for Lee Gamble’s UIQ label, sits firmly on the hardcore continuum, mixing distended, percussive rave workouts with the ‘weightless’ mode pushed by Mumdance and others. Percussion reigns supreme here, but almost as important is the sound design – synths and effects are precisely crafted, coming off like stalactites about to drop. (JH)
With just a PC laptop and a cheap set of monitors, young bedroom producer GA has produced a string of hits that a major label would kill for. Having started out producing wonky trap for a leftfield rap crew, GA has since moved into blending Afrobeats, bashment and rap beats together to create a clean, hooky sound. His biggest hits Dun Talkin, Fine Wine and Banana – featuring vocals from Kojo Funds, Yxng Bane and Belly Squad respectively – have racked up well over 20 million YouTube views between them, proving that inspiration trumps a megabucks studio every time. (IM)
Like her One Little Indian labelmate Björk, Emily Underhill is fully in control of her craft, weaving together beautiful, glacial pop songs from guitar, voice and programming. Fans of James Blake, Sigur Ros or London Grammar will find much to love here – last year’s False EP, which featured remixes from Submotion Orchestra and Throwing Snow, should be the perfect way in. (LP)
12. Rapture 4D
Another key name from Scotland’s fertile grime scene, Rapture 4D’s rowdy mix of grime and trap is making serious waves. His track Roar soundtracked last year’s Grime-A-Side clash between Manchester and Nottingham, and with support from names from Plastician to Shadowchild, he’s clearly one to watch.
13. Josh Caffe
Josh Caffe has taken the path of all things great in dance music, making a name for himself on the gay scene before garnering more mainstream acclaim. He’s already racked up quite the CV with releases on Crosstown Rebels, Nervous Records, Get Up Recordings, Bpitch Control and Batty Bass amongst others. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming work with both Hannah Holland and Posthuman. (RW)
This 18-year-old has been attracting attention from the likes of Toddla T and MistaJam, but it won’t be long before his name is uttered with wider recognition. The gentle melodic textures of his early releases have essences of Jamie xx and FKA Twigs, a delicate drift through atmospheres that feels more mature than his age suggests. The Kent native has a huge future ahead of him if he continues on the right path. (JG)
South Londoner Reckonwrong really hit his stride last month with a gleaming remix of Busy P for Ed Banger, filtering the label’s clean lines through a UK Funkyish filter. But in fact his promise has been clear since his first releases for Young Turks imprint Whities: listen to the subaqueous thud of Luscious Lips, suddenly giving way to distorted but still shimmering lead lines, or his work last year as Pez, on which he gives voice to his more experimental, nearly ambient tendencies. One to watch for the coming year. (JH)
16. Moses Boyd
Drummer, composer and producer Moses Boyd is carrying the flame for the British jazz revival, combining elements of the spiritual jazz of John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders with a hip South London twist. Having already collaborated with the likes of Lonnie Liston Smith, Four Tet, Sampha and Ed Motta, he’s destined to revive what many in Britain saw as an extinct genre. (JG)
Her livestreamed party series Meine Nacht is known for throwing parties at venues way off the beaten track, and Liverpool’s Or:La makes a sound that is similarly tricky to pin down: a mix of skippy UKG rhythms, jazzy licks and techno heft. She’s just one 12-inch old so far – UK Lonely, out now on Scuba’s Hotflush – but she’s got her own label Deep Sea Frequency in the works, due to launch this year.
Latmun has had a meteoric rise through the house scene over the past 12 months, and releases on Viva Warriors, Cosmic and Relief have seen the Nottingham-based DJ and producer flown around the world to parties in Australia, Mexico and Brazil. Get started with his new Everybody’s Dancin’ EP, which is getting props from Pete Tong, The Martinez Brothers, Green Velvet and more. (SP)
19. Big Miz
Chris McFarlane – aka Big Miz – is a graduate of the Glasgow school of bumping house music that emanates from Sub Club. Whilst honing his DJ skills as co-founder of the notorious Offbeat parties at Le Cheetah which ended last year, he’s been releasing melodic Chicago-style tracks on Dixon Avenue Basement Jams since 2015. And with a 12-inch on Lucky Me coming soon, house-heads all over should definitely keep an ear out for the boy Miz. (ME)
Don’t ask HAAi out on a Saturday night – a few months back she took over the reins from Jasper James as permanent resident at Brixton’s Phonox. She’s also branched out into production, turning out some floor-friendly remixes for the likes of Sälen, and curating her own platform, Coconut Beats. (PW)
Since his debut on Chase & Status’s MTA Records, there’s no telling which dancefloor the mysterious 1991 is going to damage next… and in what way. He specialises in versatile, melodic and hard-hitting electronic music from drum’n’bass to trap and everything in between. He's hotly tipped by tastemakers such as UKF and Skankandbass – with a stream of festival and clubs sets to be played in 2017, expect him to be ripping up a set somewhere near you soon. (SP)