This week, we spoke with Dallas DJ Drew G; Los Angeles’ Ray Rhodes; and North Jersey’s Spawn.
Drew G (full name Andrew G. Montalvo), a prolific remixer and producer who has made three Dance Club Songs appearances as half of duo Dirty Pop with Brian Cua (including its cover of Starship’s 1987 classic “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now“; the remake reached No. 15 in 2017), has been jamming to the latest from German DJ/producer Leykenda, “Heartbeat.” “This one is a big-room anthem with a thick tribal beat and melody,” Drew G tells Billboard. “I love how the emotional vocal builds its way back into the track.”
Drew G, who recently relocated from southern California to Dallas, and who would normally be playing at the city’s The Eagle, as well as returning to residencies at Rich’s in San Diego and Micky’s in Los Angeles, has also been enjoying Dutch producer Vadai and Japanese classically-trained musician ALESSA.A’s “Into the Unknown.” Drew G terms it “a huge progressive house instrumental track with an incredible cinematic breakdown.”
Additionally, the DJ and 69ing Chipmunks label head, who has been posting COVID-19 DJ sets during the pandemic, shares his love for Dutch DJ/producer Jack Wins’ “Animals” (BYOR remix), featuring singer Caitlyn Scarlett. Drew G opines, “The BYOR remix features a nice hard-hitting early-evening house track, lots of big-room elements and electro undertones and a super catchy vocal.”
Ray Rhodes has been reveling in Disclosure’s “Energy,” which serves as the title track to the UK DJ duo’s third studio album, expected Aug. 28. “‘Energy’ effortlessly combines Brazilian samba beats with ’90s underground house sounds,” Rhodes tells Billboard. “Complete with driving vocals from Eric Thomas, the track provides a positive, motivational dance floor experience. I love how the ’90s sound is making a comeback.”
“Energy” became Disclosure’s 23rd career entry on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs when it arrived on the June 6-dated tally at No. 22. That marks the act’s highest position on the ranking in nearly five years, since “Nocturnal,” featuring The Weeknd, hit No. 16. Disclosure has notched three top 10s, including “Latch” (featuring Sam Smith), which locked in at No. 1 for four frames in 2014.
Rhodes, a resident DJ at Avalon in Hollywood and who spins at Exchange in Los Angeles and Time Nightclub in Orange County, has also been into UK producer Franky Wah’s “Come Together.” “The uplifting lyric ‘people come together,’ along with powerful piano chords, make for an anthem for these times and the positive change I’m hopeful for,” Rhodes muses.
Additionally, Rhodes, whose original production with Christian B, “In Another Life,” featuring Meiko, was released March 6, is loving the latest from another UK-based producer, Freejak’s “I’m for Real.” Rhodes raves, “This track, complete with a horn section and retro synths, sounds perfect by the pool, with a cool beverage, in the summer sunshine!”
“Real” is Freejak’s take on The Dramatics’ 1971 hit “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get,” which rose to No. 3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Spawn (real name Shawn Foley) has been fueling his passion for new music with Cash Cash’s “Gasoline,” featuring Laura White (Sisco Kennedy edit). “This track is going to heat up the summer,” Spawn predicts.
The DJ, who would normally be spinning at various Northern New Jersey venues including the Sushi Lounges in Totowa, Morristown and Hoboken, among others, adds of the song, “It’s the perfect feel-good jam to start any party. I was super pumped when I got an advance copy from fellow Sushi resident Deen Anthony, who is close friends with [Roseland, New Jersey, natives] Cash Cash. It really is fire.”
Spawn may onto something, as “Gasoline” revs 35-21 on the June 20-dated Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart.
Spawn has also been grooving to ATFC’s “U Got Me.” The DJ says, “It’s an awesome combination of deep funky elements, topped off with a classic vocal hook. It makes you want to get down and get busy on the dance floor.” The track is a reworking of Aretha Franklin’s classic “Chain of Fools,” which topped Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for four frames and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968.
Additionally, Spawn, who has been livestreaming during the pandemic, as well as producing his syndicated NEXTPlay weekly mix show, extols the virtues of Vintage Culture and Adam K’s “Deep Inside of Me,” featuring MKLA. “This is just a great floor-pumping dance track,” Spawn says. “You can’t go wrong with the original, but my two favorite remixes are by Liquid Todd or Sofi Tukker, depending on the vibe.”
“Deep” was nearing the top 10, rising 17-12, on the March 28-dated Dance Club Songs survey, the week before the chart began its coronavirus-induced break.