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21 in 2021: Mainstage anthems & the new sounds of the Asian overground

Music that should have been heard on Asia's main stages across 2021

  • Mixmag Asia Crew
  • 14 December 2021

Here we are nearing the end of another year, partially indoors with a glimmer to the life that once filled our nights with amnesia filled stories and just good times overall. With festival life coming back in certain parts of the globe (here in Asia, we lived vicariously through them), Asia has seen an unfortunate dull return with clubs still closed and no festivals in sight. There is hope, much hope that we will soon be able to follow in the careful footsteps of the western hemisphere and we will be reunited again on the dance floors or festival grounds. With that being said, however, dull the physical scene may be, the virtual world has not stopped its pump as it fuels us with a myriad of dance music that keeps us on our feet.

This year gifts us with festival bangers that make us reminisce about those good ol’ days (can we say that yet?), EDM-infused pop favourites, to remixes that give us something that borderlines what we call above ground. Our 21 picks come from all over Asia as we see returning talents as well as new faces. We’re hoping that next year comes with a revival of throbbing beats and strobe lights that would accompany these tracks, but for now, let’s take a look into Mixmag Asia’s selects for dance floor anthems above ground.

‘Bassgod’ Juyen Sebulba, Sihk, Yellow Claw, Ramengvrl

Title: ‘Bassgod’
Artist: Juyen Sebulba, Sihk, Yellow Claw, Ramengvrl
Label: Barong Family
Release: Out Now, you can stream it here

We start off the list with a clear cut banger; also, a lucky coincidence it came out on the brink of 2021. Yellow Claw teamed up with Indonesia’s Sihk, rapper Ramengvrl and Juyen Sebulba from one half of the duo Psycho Boys Club for a headbanging festival banger ‘Bassgod’. No stranger to the decks but from a different genre — hip hop — Yellow Claw welcome Indonesian Ramengvrl to the bass family. This rising star has been breaking out of the Indonesian hip hop scene and is signed on Empire, a hip hop label that has released tracks by Snoop Dogg, Iggy Azalea, Kendrick Lamar and more. The Barong Family held no restraints this year with Hotel Barong in play along with Juyen Sebulba and Sihk – let’s say the whole world was peanut butter and jealous they couldn’t physically be part of the bass-filled party. If the pandemic didn’t exist, we’re sure this track would headline all of Asia’s festivals in a heartbeat — the true definition of a dance anthem paired with a helluva rail riding. Let’s just say once festivals are back, we have no doubt ‘Bassgod’ will be a staple.

‘Kong’ Carta & Laidback Luke

Title: ‘Kong’
Artist: Carta & Laidback Luke
Label: Revealed Recordings
Release: Out Now, you can stream it here or buy it here

Making a name for himself in China and now in the rest of the globe, Carta aka Giorgio Carta has established himself in the electronic world at high speed with his first milestone of being the first Chinese artist to make it to DJ Mag‘s Top 100 at a young age of 21, and also as the first Chinese-based producer signed to Spinnin’ Records. This Hong Kong-born artist honed his foundations in the UK with a groovy garage sound, then progressed further in Shanghai as the electronic scene was blossoming. Carta’s releases have seen the likes of many international labels — within 2021, he released ‘Big Beat’ on W&W’s Rave Culture label and ‘Chengdu’ on Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike’s Smash The House label and today we’re featuring his latest release with Laidback Luke for a festival banger titled ‘Kong' via Revealed Recordings. With having performed at ADE, Tomorrowland, Ultra, Storm and Jungle, it’ll be no surprise when we see this budding young artist take the stands when festivals come back to life.

‘Sleeping On My Own Again’ (Reimagined) MYRNE

Title: ‘Sleeping On My Own Again’ (Reimagined)
Artist: MYRNE
Label: Ultra Music
Release: Out Now, you can stream it or buy it here

MYRNE has always stayed within our radar for us and this year, he churned his successful dreamy ethereal album ‘Wandering’ released via Ultra Music to a reimagined lens of organic house sounds and synth goodness which needs a place in our list for 2021. With the pandemic putting a halt on all live shows, this Singaporean based artist felt a missing link for house music and the energy in his live shows, which in turn sparked an interest in revamping his tracks back to life. ‘Sleeping On My Own Again’ takes the prize for a delicately hypnotic and lush soundscape which truly puts one at ease and draws back negative Nancy back to the closets. This year, we also had the pleasure of working with him to give our readers production tips from mastering, recording tracks and how he works his creative processes. If there’s one person leading Singapore’s mainstream dance music lifeline, it would be MYRNE.

‘DRXGS’ Yellow Claw featuring Sara Fajira

Title: ‘DRXGS’
Artist: Yellow Claw featuring Sara Fajira
Label: Barong Family
Release: Out now, you can stream it here

Yes, we’ve listed Yellow Claw in this year’s list, but we really couldn’t skip this one out as they feature Indonesian singer Sara Fajira — who is no stranger in the dance music scene. With Yellow Claw’s continued journey to look and collaborate with Indonesian talents while residing in the Island of the Gods, this track gives us life above ground. Our second select ‘DRXGS’ showcases how Yellow Claw breaches into a melodic sound alongside Fajira’s soothing voice as they experiment beyond their a-typical bass lines. Sara Fajira has also been featured in Weird Genius’s track last year, ‘Lathi’ that was featured as our top 20 of 2020 with hits beyond 300 million streams. ‘DRXGS’ is definitely not what we expect from Jim and Nils but we love the tropical lighter sound that comes through with this number.

‘Reminisce’ Manila Killa & Yuna

Title: ‘Reminisce’
Artist: Manila Killa & Yuna
Release: Out Now, you can stream it here

Coming straight from 88RISING’s sister label PARADISE RISING, Filipino artist Manila Killa collaborates with Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna in ‘Reminisce’ from the semilucent 2 EP, which celebrates Filipino American History Month. The label itself is dedicated to promoting and pushing out Filipino artists to the world and Manila Killa’s track fits the bill for our 21 of 2021 list. Born out of the pandemic through Manila’s carefree ability to create without the pressures of a busy artist, his instrumental track laid out the initial foundations with Yuna’s ethereal voice to a fun disco beat bringing ‘Reminisce’ to the next track on our list for 2021.

‘Future Ghost’ Weird Genius & Violette Wautier

Title: ‘Future Ghost’
Artist: Weird Genius & Violette Wautier
Label: Astrawerks
Release: Out Now, you can stream it here

Indonesian trio Weird Genius has had a whirlwind of success leading from their breakout track last year with Lathi, which was a dance anthem you wouldn’t have missed. This year, Weird Genius took a melodic route that is a shift in their usual sounds with the track relaying the conversations and despair of the pandemic. As travel was next to obsolete, the trio teamed up with Thai-Belgian pop singer Violette Wautier and collaborated entirely through Zoom calls and emails — a trending route in the world of COVID. Is Weird Genius taking this route moving forward? We’re excited to see what they have planned next.

‘The Space’ RayRay featuring Sky Sky

Title: ‘The Space’
Artist: RayRay featuring Sky Sky
Label: Barong Family
Release: Out now, you can stream it here

Coming out hot from Taiwanese based artist RayRay’s latest EP via Barong Family, we could not miss ‘The Space’ as a standout track from the entire Alien Mutation EP that was released in July. RayRay features Sky Sky in a perfect collaboration for this piece — curating an ode to everything that belongs to the celestial universe that is the essence of both artists. Both artists are part of the Barong Family label and were locked into Hotel Barong this year as well — a perfect space to create music. ‘The Space’ takes a different turn to RayRay’s signature harder savage beats with a melodic journey through warped visuals in their music video.

‘Everything Needs Love’ MONDO GROSSO featuring BoA (RE-NEW JP)

Title: ‘Everything Needs Love’
Artist: MONDO GROSSO featuring BoA (RE-NEW JP)
Label: A.S.A.B
Release: Out Now, you can stream it here

We have seen a crazy up rise with anime and it seems like the trend is not stopping anytime soon — this next select ‘Everything Needs Love’ by MONDO GROSSO has 1980s Japanese anime written all over it. Japanese producer Shinichi Osawa’s band, MONDO GROSSO formed in 1991 which fused acid jazz within their sound. In 2002 the band paired up with South Korean singer BoA releasing ‘Everything Needs Love’ and 19 years later today — a rework with updated vocals and an anime music video gave us the best of MONDO GROSSO in today’s light. A pioneer in Asian dance music with an incredible three decades of work from Japan, Osawa has produced tracks for International artists such as Felix da Housecat, Digitalism, BOYS NOIZE, BENNY BENASSI and more. We're expecting to see more of Shinichi Osawa or maybe more of MONDO GROSSO in decades to come.

‘Naked’ TOKiMONSTA featuring Channel Tres

Title: ‘Naked’
Artist: TOKiMONSTA featuring Channel Tres
Label: Young Art Records
Release: Out Now, you can stream it here

A funky disco beat paired with a trippy music video has gotten us in a mood to dance with TOKiMONSTA’s ‘Naked’ track featuring rapper Channel Tres. This US-born, Korean native producer has come through a rough couple of years with a rare brain disease, but that has not stopped her from making music that speaks music to our ears. Coming straight from her own label, Young Art Records, ‘Naked’ showcases Tres’ recognizable voice through symphonies of synths and technicolour retro beats. TOKiMONSTA’s will in pushing her boundaries comes with a variety of collaborations from different genres that speaks to her diversity as a producer overall.

‘Flower’ Dipha Barus featuring Jackie Castro

Title: ‘Flower’
Artist: Dipha Barus featuring Jackie Castro
Label: Ultra Records
Release: Out Now, you can stream it here

Known for infusing traditional Indonesian instruments into his tracks, Dipha Barus doesn’t let us down with his track ‘Flower’ — with feel good vibes written all over it. The track comes through as an ode to personal growth of self-discovery and Columbian-American Jackie Castro’s vocal stylings gives it a refreshing finish of east meets west. Having made quite a name for himself, Dipha Barus has taken himself through the scene with incredible streaming numbers with his 2016 release, ‘No One Can Stop Us’ and multiple Indonesian awards such as best electronic song to getting him signed to Ultra Music in 2019. With such an upheaving trajectory, we’re not expecting Dipha Barus to slow down anytime soon with his house and future bass sounds.

‘The Tempo’ Bleu Clair

Title: ‘The Tempo’
Artist: Bleu Clair
Label: Ultra Records
Release: Out now, you can stream it here

Bleu Clair was part of our MMA Selects Compilation Vol 1 and we are not missing any chances on including him into this dance floor ready list. Coming in with a release via Monstercat, Indonesian artist Bleu Clair works a house banger with ‘The Tempo’ that includes Asian inspired samples crawling all over the tracks’ bassline. Since 2020, Clair’s signature distinct sound has graced the likes of STMPD RCRDS, Insomniac Records and Ytram, Martin Garrix’s side project. It’s just the beginning of his journey and we’re sure Clair’s futuristic sound will take him far into the future.

‘In My Soul’ Masayoshi Iimori

Title: ‘In My Soul’
Artist: Masayoshi Iimori
Label: Ultra Records
Release: Out Now, you can stream it here

Hailing from Japan, Masayoshi Iimori gives us a trap selection with a tinge of drum 'n' bass to add to the list with his track ‘In My Soul’ via Monstercat — a for sure banger at any festival. His success brings this Tokyo based producer to hit the stands with two releases ‘Mango Beat’ and ‘Kickin’ Up’ via Mad Decent's Good Enuff label, ‘Whirlwind’ via Nest HQ’s label, a ‘Hardcore EP’ via A-Trak's Fool's Gold label — and to top it all off. a guest mix for BBC Radio 1's Diplo & Friends show. A breath of fresh air comes from Iimori and we’re hoping for more power tracks leading from Japan in the upcoming future.

’46 Step’ Chace

Title: ‘46 Step’
Artist: Chace
Label: Universal Music Group (on behalf of Go East Music Entertainment Consulting Limited)
Release: Out Now, you can stream it here

Chace is definitely no stranger to the Mixmag Asia crowd, and this year, he released ‘46 Step’ which is the first single from his upcoming debut album. This Shanghai-based artist has come a long way from his initial upwards trajectory in the scene since 2017 as he made history being the first DJ from China to play the main stage in Tomorrowland and was also signed into the Barong Family paired along with a Yellow Claw collaboration ‘Stranger’. For this year’s select, ’46 Step’ takes a slower approach with funky syncopated synths along with an addicting low bassline that carries the song perfectly with its dreamy Disclosure like vocals stylings. His next track ‘Cinematic’ from his debut album will be coming out in a couple of days and we’re excited to see what Chace has to offer us as a treat this Christmas.

‘Saviour’ Hoaprox, YUAN & Haneri

Title: ‘Saviour’
Artist: Hoaprox, YUAN & Haneri
Label: Monstercat
Release: Out now, you can stream it here or buy it here

Hailing from Vietnam, Hoaprox is back for his third release on the renowned Monstercat label as he collaborates with Singapore based artist Haneri for the second time this year and popular China-based artist YUAN on this melodic trap piece ‘Saviour’. For Hoaprox, 2021 has been promising with a flurry of releases ranging from progressive house to future bass towards a more international audience and not forgetting his previous release ‘Ngau Hung’ which amassed over two billion streams. Having released ‘Brighter Side’ with Haneri earlier this year, which included a more dance-pop vibe, the collaboration seems to have made the right turns as Haneri also released her debut EP with another Monstercat artist Duumu in 2021. This track brings YUAN (a.k.a. Mengyuan) to his first release on a western label, however, he is no stranger to the music scene with over 3.5 billion streams in China.

‘Need You Like I Need to Breathe’ MIYUKI feat. Glasscat 

Title: ‘Need You Like I Need to Breathe’
Artist: MIYUKI feat. Glasscat
Label: AVA White
Release: Out now, you can stream it here or buy it here

We have a trance entry and it comes from a rapidly rising artist in the world of trance. MIYUKI arrives on our list with her track ‘Need You Like I Need to Breathe’ featuring singer-songwriter Glasscat that has also been featured on Monstercat. MIYUKI is not just your ordinary DJ, she also holds a PhD in Biology before discovering her path in her musical career which started with streaming on Twitch. ‘Need You Like I Need to Breathe’ fits the bill in her musical style of ethereal melodies that caters to the genre of uplifting vocal trance and has even hit the top of Beatport Trance Top 100.

 ‘MEDUSA’ Jasmine Sokko

Title: ‘MEDUSA’
Artist: Jasmine Sokko
Label: Warner Music
Release: Out now, you can stream it here or buy it here

Easily identifiable with her trademarks of fashionably designed unique masks, Singaporean based electro-pop artist Jasmine Sokko brings Greek mythology to life with her release ‘MEDUSA’. Over the years Jasmine has built an extension of her persona through a series of different masks that calls to a message that is not being judged through her appearances but rather through her music. In 2019 she made waves for the nation to be the first Singaporean to win the title of Best Southeast Asian Act at the MTV EMAs. She's also branched out towards the Chinese market with Mandarin infused tracks, with her debut Mandarin EP ‘Made In Future’ that features popular Chinese star VaVa. The next phase of this young artist looks to a chapter of new beginnings and pushing past her old self, we’re looking forward to seeing a new invention of Jasmine Sokko next year.

'Equal In The Darkness' Steve Aoki, Jolin Tsai & MAX

Title: 'Equal In The Darkness'
Artist: Steve Aoki, Jolin Tsai & MAX
Label: Liquid State
Release: Out Now, you can stream it here

A collaboration pulling the east and west through dance music arrives with two releases with different languages for 'Equal In The Darkness' by Steve Aoki, Jolin Tsai and MAX. Over the past three years Hong Kong label Liquid State, a Tencent Music and Sony Music joint venture, created a commitment to the development of building a global focused market for Asian based artists in the electronic field. This track follows that commitment as Steven Aoki teams up with Taiwanese singer/songwriter aka Queen of C-Pop and multi-platinum American artist MAX as they both beautifully harmonize through English and Mandarin versions of the track. This fun summertime beat is a for sure fit to everything that lives above ground.

‘So Much More’ Jeffrey Sutorius & 22Bullets feat Wilder

Title: ‘So Much More’
Artist: Jeffrey Sutorius & 22Bullets feat Wilder
Label: Revealed Music
Release: Out now, you can stream it here or buy it here

A true classification of a big room winner on the mainstage, 22Bullets team up with Jeffrey Sutorius (aka an ex-member of Dash Berlin) with Wilder’s vocals pushing the track to its trajectory with lyrics that make us miss festival life even more. Hailing from Thailand, 22Bullets has made a name for himself the EDM scene here in Asia and has been sharing the stage with many popular artists such as Markus Shulz, Showtek, Nervo, Steve Angelo and many more. Plugging in another notch in his vast collection of releases this year, ‘So Much More’ made its way to our list with its dancefloor mainstage-worthy beats that we hope to see grace the stages when festival life comes back to us.

'Shining (feat. Fiona Sit)' Lizzy Wang

Title: ‘Shining (feat. Fiona Sit)'
Artist: Lizzy Wang
Label: Whet Records
Release: Out now, you can stream it here

A multilingual track comes our way with Lizzy Wang’s track ‘Shining’ as she partners up with Hong Kong-based singer/songwriter Fiona Sit — and coincidently, the track was produced by one of our previous entries, 22Bullets. Lizzy Wang, signed under Whet Records, has been in the electronic limelight in China with two top Chinese DJ positions by DJane Magazine and a flurry of dance-floor worthy releases. This track gives us an infectious beat with eastern influences that complements Fiona Sit’s voice to round off a club-ready vibe. ‘Shining’ comes with a tale of confidence, independence and empowerment and these two female powerhouses are the perfect fit to its overall theme.

'Remember the Summer (feat. Karra)' Ummet Ozcan X Frogmonster

Title: 'Remember the Summer (feat. Karra)'
Artist: Ummet Ozcan X Frogmonster
Label: Liquid State
Release: Out now, you can stream it here or buy it here

An overall good time and staple summertime jam comes from Ummet Ozcan and Frogmonster’s track 'Remember The Summer’ featuring singer Karra. The track comes via the Liquid State imprint, which has been collaborating Asian acts on a global scale and it is also Ummet Ozcan's first time collaborating with a Chinese artist. An ode to memories about the good times, the song brings us back to the times we could frolic away with not a care in the world — and not forgetting that this one is definitely a sing-a-long. With more than one billion streams worldwide on QQ music in 2020, we couldn't miss this one.

‘Wasted Love’ Jenil

Title: ‘Wasted Love’
Artist: Jenil
Label: Boy From The Beach / One Seven Music
Release: Out now, you can stream it here or buy it here

Philippines based DJ and producer Jenil is hailed as one of the country’s top producers and has been climbing to the top over the years with tracks listed under Beatport Top 100 charts with numerous releases under Panda Funk, Revealed Recordings and Dirty Dutch. Over the past 2021, Jenil has been releasing a number of remakes that would fuel your club bangers list, but today we’re featuring one of his originals which take a softer note. ‘Wasted Love’ takes an emotional approach with vocals that get you singing along in your scenic drive that rides along with a drop that gets your inner vibes grooving to the infectious basslines. Jenil also has his own label named Sora Music Group, which is in partnership with Warner Music Philippines and has been releasing music on a weekly basis with artists from Revealed, Protocol, Spinnin’ Records and more.

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