The task of listing 10 or more underground producers and DJs under the age of 25 seemed easy enough when we pitched it. After all, artists like Kyle Hall, Anthony Naples, Aurora Halal, Huerco S. and Kobosil sprang to mind as wunderchildren who began to release records and tour in their late teens or early 20s. But now they’ve all breezed past our totally arbitrary cutoff, and we’ve realized that many or most of the rising stars we thought of while writing this article have, too: the Mood Hut and Pender Street Steppers crews; Hodge; the Discwoman mainstays; even Palms Trax is 25 now. And others who may still be 20-24 don’t have their ages listed anywhere we can find, so although we’re pretty sure that Bristol is full of young guns, we can’t confirm it for the purposes of this list of under 25 DJs and producers.
18-year-old Swede Tove Agélii created the alias Toxe for her avant-trap releases with Staycore, a Stockholm-based collective and record label that houses artists who disassemble pop, hip-hop and R&B. Toxe’s contributions include healthy doses of thundering spurts of industrial percussion, including the tortured remains of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” that was released on Rabit’s Halcyon Veil imprint as “Xic”.
When Greg Beato released his first records via Funkineven’s Apron label and the famed L.I.E.S. outpost, he was quickly identified as the wunderkind of “outsider house,” as at the time he was still a teenager. Now in his early 20s, Beato has added at least two new aliases to his catalog of jacking, dusty house and techno: El Pingon RRR and Breaker 1 2, the latter of which was such a cult hit that we included it on our list of the 50 most rinsed tracks.
A second young Swedish woman makes the list—but rather than abusing popular music, SHAPE Platform artist Klara Lewis eschews major label palates altogether in favor of experimental compositions. Her first official release arrived in 2014, when she was 21, via Peder Mannerfelt’s label, but she soon expanded her horizons to one of noise and experimental music’s most important outposts: Editions Mego. So far she’s released two LPs with the label since 2014, which has won her spots on international lineups where, she told us a few months ago, she’s often the only female.
Born in Bristol in 1992, the producer known as Bruce was first picked up by the taste-making bass label Hessle Audio in 2014, when he was 22. Soon after the release of that record, ‘Not Stochastic’, he was taken on by two other popular UK imprints: Dnuos Ytivil (the sublabel from Pev and Kowton’s Livity Sound) and Idle Hands.
According to a 2014 post on No Fear Of Pop, Via App was 20 at the time of publishing, which means she’s 22 now. In that time she dropped two tapes on 1080p and moved to Brooklyn, where her noise and punk disposition jives well with the local dance music scene. That means her productions rarely play by the rules of functional European dance music and owe more to oddball sounds and scenes than proper nightclubs.
South London-bred Kojo Kankam has only existed since 1997, but he’s already signed to British indie giant XL and worked on tracks with Mumdance, Skepta, Jamie xx and Chase & Status. The 19-year-old MC climbed the ranks of pirate radio, Rinse FM and BBC Radio to herald the dawn of a renewed popular interest in grime.
We must admit that we have no hard evidence that Siren is entirely or partially composed of women under the age of 25, but this PW Magazine report that it’s “a group of women in their early 20s”—plus the photos we’ve seen of the crew—have us convinced that at least some of them fit the qualifications of this list. Plus, there’s the fact that the constituents of this nine-member DJ collective bring a distinctly “millennial” social justice agenda to dance music by pushing techno-feminism, visibility and advice on how clubbers can be activists.
22-year-old Copenhagen talent Henrik Koefod has releases as Erosion on George FitzGerald’s ManMakeMusic label and Martyn’s 3024 imprint. His next 12″, Spectrums Vol. II, comes out on the latter outpost soon.
22-year-old Dylan Khotin moved from the small Canadian town of Edmonton to Vancouver. There he became embedded in the breezy, Balearic-minded local house scene. which trend has also rubbed off a bit on east coast city Montreal. In addition to releasing on 1080p, Khotin runs his own cutely titled record label Normals Welcome.
Published September 19, 2016.