The cat is well and truly out of the bag when it comes to Asia's contribution to the dynamic world of main room dance and EDM. Boasting a host of artists who have proven themselves more than able to cut it with the very best of the international dance community, and with premium labels regularly offering homes to Asian-based artists, Asia is now well and truly on the dance music map. We thought it timely to offer up a digest of some of the very best newcomers, best kept secrets, and leading lights that the continent has to offer. The list – which is arranged alphabetically in the interests of diplomacy – is as varied and colourful as the region it represents and is certain to provide something to tickle the taste buds of all dedicated dance aficionados.
Where better to start than with the wild card of the group? Ziqi Zhong, AKA Anti-General, is a producer who follows his own weird and wonderful musical path. Inspired by nocturnal sounds and the darker side of music, the Chinese artist has recently launched his very own label, Mavericks, as a platform to release his music, as well as to shine a light on his favourite underground artists. His latest composition, a collaboration with Yider called 'Taiga Town', was revealed earlier this month and displays all of his distinctive sonic skills. One from the left-field, and definitely one to look out for.
Though based in California, the Beauz (pronounced bowz) brothers Bernie and Johan Yang have their roots firmly in Indonesia and Taiwan. The duo “share the dream of uniting cultures and creating a positive impact in the world through music,” and since they burst onto the scene four short years ago, they've released some serious fire on labels including Armada, Spinnin', NCS, Atlantic, Interscope, Universal and more. Their accessible sound has won them admires from the cream of international dance, including Zedd, Diplo, Martin Garrix, Tiesto, Don Diablo. Their production output is nothing short of prolific, and they are showing no signs of letting up. Look out world!
3 Dipha Barus
Already a hugely popular artist in his home nation of Indonesia, Dipha exploded onto the international scene after the ULTRA Records crew scouted him and welcomed him into their loving arms. His first release on their label – a collaboration with Monica Karina entitled 'You Move Me' – cemented his position as an artist with a flair for sunshine, sing-along vibrations. Previously known for blending traditional Indonesian music with cutting edge, modern flavours, his latest release with US sensation CADE has only added to his status. This is an artist who's work overflows with hands-in-the-air summertime positivity, offering good time feelings all the way.
4 DJ Soda
South Korean DJ Soda is something of a phenomenon. Hugely popular on social media, she boasts over 7 million followers on Facebook and more than 4 million on Instagram. She's released music on Spinnin' Asia, Barong Family, and Songtradr, and can truly be referred to as a superstar DJ. Her background as an actress has helped shaped her famously theatrical live performances, not least with her signature move, the ‘Flute Dance’, which is a viral sensation and accumulated millions of views on Youtube, Facebook and other social media platforms. Her striking looks have also seen her model for high profile brands including Dior, Guess, K-Swiss, Nike, New Balance and more. Soda is an artist who is sure to keep raising the bar for herself.
5 Get Looze
Hailing from Ho Chi Minh City, Get Looze is a turntablist, DJ and producer who is regularly name-checked by Vietnam's most respected DJs as one of the countries brightest young stars. His DJ career was inspired by watching YouTube clips of legendary scratch master Qbert, and his story-telling sets have seen him invited to play alongside the best in the business, including Hardwell, Steve Aoki, W&W, Headhunterz, Yellow Claw and more. In 2018 he started his journey as a producer, releasing a number of bootlegs and remixes before dropping his original 'UFO' track to great acclaim. Last month he collaborated with Dustee to release slamming tech-house banger 'Ghost Father', displaying yet another string to his ever-expanding bow.
22-year old DJ and producer Hoaprox burst onto the scene when he was the youngest ever winner of The Remix New Generation back in 2017. His sound encompasses expansive sounds including progressive house, future bass, trap, dubstep, nu-disco and more, and he's making some serious waves across Asia right now. Earlier this year, his 'Words Of The Wind' single featuring Minh Flute was included in the influential 'Billboard Presents: Electric Asia Vol.3' compilation, and his recent ‘Ngẫu Hứng’ track amassed an incredible 2 billion streams in China alone. The young producer has already enjoyed a glimpse of mainstream success, having earned production credits on Vietnamese rapper Jack's recent ‘As A Boy’ (Là 1 Thằng Con Trai) single – the video of which generated a massive 35 million views in one day on YouTube.
Another artist who is a much-loved member of the Asian dance community, Taiwanese producer and DJ Kaku is someone who's built up an impressive reputation when it comes to energising festival crowds across the region and beyond. He's performed at the biggest and the best dance festivals, including STORM, EDC & Ultra, and has even graced the decks at the flagship Tomorrowland festival in Belgium. His studio productions have seen him sign tracks to Barong Family, Deadbeats, Liquid State and more, and his recent 'Pass Out' collaboration with Nitty Gritti has proven to be one of the trap anthems of the year so far on the Taipei circuit. Well-equipped with his BSMNT LABS studio, Kaku continues to fly the flag for Taiwanese dance music, and we have a strong feeling that there's much more to come from him.
Australian brother and sister pairing Amy and Josh Dowdle are primed to be one of the countries most in-demand dance exports once the travel situation returns to normality. The duo, based in Queensland, combine an extremely palatable and pop-tinged sound with dance sensibilities, and have released on labels including Astralwerks, Virgin and Rose Avenue. They've already performed at festivals including Coachella, Beyond the Valley, and Spilt Milk, and in 2017 toured with pop-dance superstars RÜFÜS DU SOL. Their 2018 hit 'Deja Vu' helped them to gain an international following, with it's catchy vocal and slick production. Their cultured sound is highly refined, thanks in part to the fact that Josh is a classically trained musician, and helps set them apart from the rest of the field. We're always on the lookout for new music from Lastlings, and their stock seems likely to rise with each new release.
Lizzy Wang, better known as LIZZY, shot to fame back in 2017 and hasn't looked back since then. Proudly ranked in pole position as China's number one DJ by DJane Magazine, she also sits inside the top 40 worldwide. LIZZY is now one of the top touring DJ’s in China and played over 100 shows across the country last year. She was the first female Chinese DJ to be invited to play at Ultra and has a fiercely loyal fan-base throughout the Asia region. Not just someone who knows how to move a crowd, she also has studio skills to spare, and her output includes 2019's stone-cold banger, 'Seeking Your Love', which received remix treatment from trance legend Ferry Corsten. Impossible to ignore, there's more to come from LIZZY for sure.
One of the undisputed jewels of Cambodia's dance community, Maily is much more than just a DJ. A Pioneer DJ Battle champion turned model, actress, and brand ambassador, Maily has used her dizzying skills as a platform to catapult herself into local stardom, where she's worked with iconic brands such as Hugo Boss, Pioneer, Fashion TV, Tiger Beer Music, Heineken beer and Johnnie Walker. Her sound is firmly rooted in fun and high energy vibes including trap, EDM and hip hop, and she's regularly rocked clubs in Cambodia and beyond. When the venues reopen and travel is made easier, could the time be ripe for the queen of Phnom Penh's club scene to expand her brightly coloured empire?
With a sound that sits somewhere between pop and energetic electronica, Singaporean artist Myrne was the very first Asian artist signed to Diplo's Mad Decent label back in 2015. Since then, the talented DJ and producer has gone on to sign an exclusive deal with ULTRA, a platform from which he's gone on to release some absolute fire, not least 'Where Do We Go From Here' which dropped in February this year. His accessible sound is just as well-suited to club play as radio play, and his musicality is helped by the classical training he received as a youngster. In 2019 he released his debut solo LP, 'In Search Of Solitude', and his touring schedule has seen him take on dates worldwide – including being the first Singaporean to play Ultra Miami and Tomorrowland Festival.
Nucleya deserves his place in this list as an artist proudly representing his native India in the global dance community. His career began somewhere towards the end of '90s when he co-founded Bandish Projekt, he's since gone onto release 14 singles and studio albums, and has worked on numerous collaborative projects. His music has seen him invited to play festivals all over the world – including UK legend Glastonbury – as well as Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Lille 3000 and the Electron Festival, and he's performed alongside superstars of the scene including Diplo and Modeselektor. Known to blend traditional Indian instrumentation with his trademark, heavy production sound, Nucleya has accumulated close to a million followers on Facebook, and is undisputedly a driving force of India's fast-growing Dance music scene.
Panta.Q has been causing a storm in China and beyond for a few years now, but last year his career took a huge upturn when he signed to powerhouse label, ULTRA. A graduate of Berklee College of Music in the US, Panta.Q has pushed dance and rave culture in China hard, with his releases among those that have helped the scene grow exponentially in recent years. His full-bodied tracks are intelligently produced and have contributed to the burgeoning dubstep and bass movements in China, often helped by the seductive hook elements brought in by his melodic vocals lines. His 2018 single 'Sorry' received over five million streams in its first two weeks on NetEase Cloud Music, and earned him the award for 'best dance music artist for 2018'.
Newcomer PVLSE is a young artist who's caused quite a stir since he burst onto the scene in 2018. Born in Ukraine to a Japanese mother and a father with Ukrainian, Chinese, and Japanese roots, PVLSE is blessed with an intuitive feel for global sounds and culture, and his far-reaching music incorporates hard-style, bass, and big room beats. He has been prolific in the studio ever since emerging and has released music on Maxximize, Harmor, Moon Records and more. His sound is always aimed at smashing up the main room, encompassing influences from progressive house, hardstyle, bass, and balls to the wall EDM. There can be little doubt that if he continues his impressive run of releases, big things are sure to come from PVLSE
15 Ray Ray
One of Taiwanese dance music's leading lights, RayRay has been on a relentless trajectory to stardom since being the only female to compete at the Red Bull 3style World Finals in 2013. Since then, she signed with heavyweight Dutch label Barong Family, where she released her debut EP 'Purple Alien' followed by last years excellent 'Outer Space' EP. Her background in hip hop has endowed her with some awesome turntable skills, and she's in perennial demand as a DJ. In recent years, she's rocked crowds around the world at high-level events including Tomorrowland (where she was the first-ever Taiwanese DJ to play), SXSW, ADE, Glastonbury and Sonar in Barcelona. Always exciting, always dynamic. Ray Ray never fails to deliver.
One-half of Japanese EDM Pop standard-bearers, FUTURE BOYZ, DJ Shum is one of the brightest talents from Japan's dance scene. Not only is he a producer, singer, songwriter and lyricist, he also counts directing films as one of his many creative exploits. His solo project began back in 2016 when he dropped his 'Okinawan Tropical House' album, which, as the name suggests, included sunshine flavoured tropical house delights, and made it to number three in the iTunes dance charts. He's written songs for artists including Kis-My-Ft2, RADIO FISH, lol, and Kumi Koda, and in 2018 he launched his very own CLMX Records imprint. His modestly titled 'I Am The Best' album hit the top spot in Japan's iTunes chart, and his gigantic, main room sound continues to morph and expand as his career develops. An artist as dynamic and talented as SHUM is always likely to surprise, so keep those eyes peeled.
17 Weird Genius
Indonesian EDM trio Weird Genius made the headlines earlier this year when their single “Lathi” (Tongue) managed to gain more than 100 million streams – reaching number 1 on Spotify’s main chart in Indonesia and ranking second on the Global Viral 50 Chart. Weird Genius was formed by Reza Oktovian, Eka Gustiwana and Gerald Liu back in 2016, and since then the band have performed at various events such as Bangkok’s Viral Fest, Jakarta’s SHVR festival, YouTube’s FanFest Indonesia, and Soundrenaline in Bali. They also opened for both The Chainsmokers and Yellow Claw during the celebrated acts' respective Jakarta shows in 2018. Just this month the trio became the first Asian-based act to sign with mega label Astralwerks, so it's beyond doubt that there are enormously exciting times ahead for the Weird Genius boys.