MAYA JANE COLES
Management: Steven Braines, the Weird & the Wonderful/Crown
Booking: Mariesa Stevens, Liaison Artists
By the age of 15, Maya Jane Coles had started crafting trip-hop beats. By 22, she had remixed Massive Attack and Gorillaz and produced her first underground hit, 2010's house anthem "What They Say." Over the last two years, the now-25-year-old DJ/producer's stellar mixes for BBC's Essential Mix and !K7 Records' DJ Kicks series have won her the attention of not only dance music fans, but powerful touring entities.
"She deserves all the accolades in the world," says Jason Miller, president of Live Nation New York. "I don't know her and I've never worked with her, but I'd give my left arm to do [her U.S. tour]."
In a world of adrenalized fist-pumpers, Coles is a welcome respite. Her sound is distinctly more sensual than the big room, drop-oriented electro currently dominating festivals and arenas. Rather, the Londoner has maintained a steady output of EPs stocked with voluptuous deep house, building an identifiable brand of densely atmospheric dance music. That hasn't kept her off festival stages, though: She played Ultra Music Festival, Electric Zoo and the Detroit Electronic Music Festival last year, winning over those audiences with the sheer difference of her sets.
In December, Coles inaugurated her I/AM/ME imprint with her own Easier to Hide EP, and she's currently touring Europe, including a spot in techno god Richie Hawtin's ENTER showcase in London this May. But 2013 will bring two big, potentially defining moments: Her debut artist album, and a coveted slot at the most coveted of festivals (to be announced soon).
Management: Kevin Wolff, Shoot to Kill Music
Booking: Steve Goodgold, the Windish Agency
Glitch Mob hit the road in 2011 with an LED-loaded stage show designed by Bionic League, the same team behind Daft Punk's pyramid and Deadmau5's cube. It was matched only by the three-piece electronic band's showmanship: The guys would regularly smack live snare drums, manipulate touch screens tilted toward the audience, and hop off the stage to hug the front row. They sold out significant venues like Red Rocks in Denver and Terminal 5 in New York, building momentum along the way. Even the band's album sales showed a spike: Drink the Sea sold as many copies in 2012 as it did in 2010 and 2011 combined.
Now, the band is off the road and in the studio, crafting Drink's follow-up and prepping for a fall tour of the United States with a brand-new, larger-scale show.
"We've been fortunate enough to collaborate with some stage-production visionaries," says Glitch Mob's Justin Boreta. "More importantly though, we are going to be onstage really performing electronic music. We want to bring the energy of the live band to the electronic music sound systems of the world."
Also in their off-time, the band contributed a remix of the Prodigy's "Breathe" to the 15th anniversary re-release of that band's classic Fat of the Land, and Boreta put out Mirrorgram, an iPhone app that makes photos into mirror-image works of art. No rest for the glitchy.
The Genre Bender
Management: Leena Lewis and James Grant, Involved Management
Booking: Matt Rodriguez, AM Only
"On New Year's Eve in Kuala Lumpur, DJ Cash Money came up to me and congratulated me for an awesome set," says 21-year-old Mat Zo. "Getting props from a hip-hop legend made my year."
In that statement is the heart of the new EDM guard. Zo is known as a progressive house specialist: He's prepping his debut album on trance outfit Above & Beyond's Anjunabeats label. But genre means little to him, and his heroes come from across a wide spectrum: Chuck D will contribute the vocals to his upcoming track "Pyramid Scheme." The young producer has even made a name for himself in drum'n'bass, under the pseudonym MRSA.
In 2012, Zo would have made his Electric Daisy Carnival debut, if a windstorm hadn't shut down the festivities early on Saturday night. Instead, he posted the set-that-would-have-been on SoundCloud, potentially winning him even more fans. From there, the London native launched a solo 26-date bus tour, playing everywhere from Seattle to Salt Lake City.
This year, Zo is building on that momentum with "Easy," an '80s-inflected vocal anthem he co-produced with Porter Robinson that has sit atop the Beatport charts since the holidays. He's supporting Swedish House Mafia at their Masquerade Motel event in Los Angeles on March 8, mounting another solo North American tour and playing all of the major electronic festivals.
Bringing the Bass to Tulsa
Booking: Steve Gordon, Circle Talent
One thing is sure: Excision does not screw around. The bass music purveyor took a 100,000-watt sound system on the road with him last year, hitting more than 100 dates in A, B and C markets across the United States and selling out the majority.
"There are a ton of towns in the Midwest that you wouldn't expect to be crazy, but they just explode with energy every single time I play," says Jeff Abel, aka Excision. "Tulsa is pretty ridiculous. We play on Monday or Tuesday nights there, and the kids go absolutely insane. Last year we had people hanging off of our video projector, which I would never expect from a place like Tulsa."
This year, he's upping the ante, bringing two semi-trailers loaded with self-funded Industrial Light & Magic on the 100-date the Execution tour, kicking off Jan. 25 in Indianapolis and ending in April at Coachella. The immersive video-based show involves projections on a 25' x 16' structure, dubbed "The Executioner," which places Abel in various sci-fi scenes: on a molten assembly line, in a cyborg car race, and within a transforming robot. But unlike many DJs with major technology in their shows, the audio leads the experience: If Abel screws up a mix, the video will glitch too.
After the Excision tour, Abel will launch Destroid, a collaboration with fellow bass artist Downlink and drummer KJ Sawka, billed as a "live dubstep band."
"The possibilities for this group as we start playing shows and festivals are truly limitless," he says. "For me, 2013 is going to be about surprising people."
The Slow Burner
Management: Tom Preuss, Artist Alife
Booking: Joel Zimmerman, William Morris Electronic
The legendary Carl Cox's heir apparent, Loco Dice is no new face. The German DJ/producer first made waves in the mid-2000s when minimal tech-house was the underground sound du jour, bringing a hip-hop swagger and groovier sensibility to the sparse style.
Now, he's one of the boats rising with the EDM tide, even while his sound is as slow-burning as ever: Check last year's "Toxic EP" on his own imprint, Desolat, for proof. In 2013, he'll celebrate Desolat's five-year anniversary, play a slot at Coachella, continue to be a guest of honor in Cox's branded festival tents, including at Ultra Music Festival and become the first DJ within his style to have a lucrative Las Vegas residency (at the Wynn's Surrender). He'll cap it all off with a solo U.S. tour in the fall.
"I think the entire EDM space has blown up so much that all the cracks and crevices are being explored," says Sean Christie, managing partner of Encore Beach Club and Surrender Nightclub for Wynn. "So in identifying interesting names and the leaders in one of those smaller genres, Dice for me and our team was one of the most exciting of those people. He's unbelievable live."
Dice will kick off his Vegas career at Surrender's late night pool party Splash Dance over Memorial Day weekend.