Coachella is fast approaching, and that music lineup has dozens of well-deserving electronic music acts to lend to the ears. Last year was my first Coachella, so I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of simultaneous acts. It was difficult to deviate from the Do Lab, which hosted some of the most transformative performances I saw in all of 2015. Both weekends one and two were stacked with up-and-coming talent, featured in playlists made by the MLA team. EDM Coachella acts have not always been the star of the show, of course. It is really only in recent years that there’s been success in exposing EDM fans to non-electronic acts, and non-EDM fans to electronic acts. Aside from this year’s Do Lab lineup, which is hopefully coming very soon, there’s been a pleasantly sharp increase in EDM’s presence on this year’s main lineup.
My Top 10 EDM acts at Coachella 2016 were picked with a mostly chill vibe in mind, and include some seriously great composers/producers of music to show that EDM is simply that; electronic music that you can dance to. While the Sahara and Yuma stages have been known to house most of the EDM Coachella acts in recent years, I think EDM’s identity was being polarized and not as lending to more obscure artists. Now that much electronic music is starting to become more recognized and appreciated for its musical quality, there’s a bigger opportunity for some truly bright artists to shine. Coachella’s environment will provide a big and glorious platform for these artists to control and fill the space with their latest tastes, remixes, and original works. Here is my list of EDM Coachella Acts to make sure you catch on the polo fields this year.
My Top 10 EDM Acts at Coachella 2016
Now, I should be clear here in saying that my top picks are in no particular order, that would’ve been far too difficult. The following acts span a very broad range of sound, and I don’t hope to have to choose one over the other due to a time conflict. It would just be a matter of how exactly I feel at the moment right before they begin at that point. If you haven’t heard of these guys, please do yourself a favor and check out at least one!
Louis The Child
Louis The Child has brought a new and simple wave to electronically produced dance music. You can feel the light-hearted frolic lift your smile and carry you on your merry way. The sound is what I would imagine if Neon Indian were assigned to make the next Pikmin soundtrack. Their track “It’s Strange,” featuring K.Flay, has a nice shifty rhythm and some casually swinging vocals. This track has racked up millions of plays in well under a year of being out and is a truly great example of the vibe they’ll be bringing to Coachella. For a newer, lesser known taste of their production, check out “From Here,” a track that was recently released on the OWSLA Worldwide Broadcast EP.
I have yet to see a performance from Flume outside of videos and amazing stories that my friends have told me over the years. Although Flume might not seem to fall under EDM Coachella acts for the year, it absolutely fits that description, and you’ll be seeing plenty dancing and swaying in the crowd. When “Tennis Court” dropped near the time of his previous Coachella performance, I was so hype yet so bummed that I wasn’t going to be able to experience it for myself. Since then, Flume has continued to gain traction even after leaving his collaborative duo project, What So Not, with fellow Australian Emoh. Flume really has come very far since I first discovered his music, back when “Holdin On” was all the rage, but his music sounds just as epic. New stuff from Flume in recent months includes a couple of tracks to preview the upcoming album, “Skin,” which is supposedly almost finished just in time for Coachella.
Producer/DJ-duo Snakehips hails from London, but they’ve been known to deliver great performances to the states. They first made it big on the scene with their modern-feeling hip hop and R&B jams like “On & On,” featuring George Maple. In addition to that well-respected original track, they’ve remixed the likes of Banks, The Weeknd, Wild Belle, Kehlani, and more. A highlight of their sound is the futuristic soul that layers behind their classic-feeling beats, which comes together like a R&B version of Wave Racer. Since releasing their EP, “Forever, Pt.II,” last year they’ve kept it pretty low-key on the west coast. They played a show in the Ackerman Grand Ballroom on my campus at UCLA which saw a huge turnout, and it’s safe to say they’ll be drawing a very chill crowd to their set come April.
On the west coast, Lido has got to be one of the most highly respected producer/DJs from out of country. After making a home base here in Los Angeles, Lido has revealed his tremendous musicianship with his live set and a handful of original productions. He toured the states more than once at this point, playing as Lido and his other alias, Trippy Turtle, who performed at last year’s Coachella. Though both artists are technically the same Norwegian soul-master, Lido has a distinct preference for sexy and slow R&B jams; last year’s Passion Project EP with Santell is a perfect example of that. He likes to play the keys and sing, but can easily transition into an energetic flurry of percussion on his drum pads. I’ve seen the dude so many times, but never at Coachella, which will be a great opportunity for any body who has yet to see him play.
Many of the artists I’m putting on this list are such talented musicians, whether it be in their studio ear, mixing tastes, or even just their ability to play certain instruments. ZHU is absolutely no exception, which is why his grammy-nominated track, “Faded,” has nearly 20 million plays on YouTube and almost 30 million on Soundcloud. This iconic and jazzy dance track was remixed by the likes of Lido, ODESZA, The Magician, Amtrac, and more. Even though I only knew a handful of songs before seeing him at CRSSD in Fall 2015, I was absolutely enticed to dance the entire set. His musical style and taste is really eccentric, and his most surprising and pleasing collaboration was with the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony in “Hold Up, Wait A Minute.” His “Neon City” Tour is kicking off and trust me, if you want to dance, please do not miss this guy at this year’s Coachella.
Aaron Carmack has risen to the status of a king of beats within many electronic music listening communities. His activity with the Soulection crew reaches back several years, and his rise as a producer slowly brought him into the world of mixing. From the Bay to Hawaii to LA, Carmack has developed an incredible ear for fusing the old school that his generation grew up with his own unique take on production. He makes tracks that are unbelievably intricate with loops and samples, and his trap bangers will be making massive waves from the speakers on a Coachella stage. This is why I cannot wait to see Mr. Carmack play Coachella, and why his performance will probably be recognized as one of the best EDM Coachella acts this year; even though I’ve seen him in a handful of shows from LA lots to festivals, I need to see him at Coachella. You’ll see me as well as plenty of his supporters in a land of vibes and musical bliss, and we can only hope that RL Grime will be following after. Also, do yourself the favor of seeking out any and all music by Carmack; the dude’s seriously a Genghis Khan of song production.
HudMo makes lots of the most wondrous experimental beats that I’ve heard from a music producer in a long time. He’s have of TNGHT when he joins forces with Lunice and he has some really big vibes on his own. His Chimes EP, released in 2014 was my introduction to his take on beats, but I rarely had the opportunity to see him perform. Finally, at Hard Summer 2015, I was able to walk into an absolute spectacle of visuals and hip hop style instrumentals. He uses everything from heavy bass kicks to delicate wind chimes, as his EP suggests, getting an ambient, room-filling sound. Since his Lantern LP dropped last year, his sound has added a warmer, more layered feel to it. You should be very stoked once you hear the depth of his tracks on a Coachella stage, fingers crossed for the Mojave.
To see Anthony Gonzalez, aka M83, on a lineup for a festival that I’m going to is a first, and a dream. When I first heard “Midnight City,” the hype had mostly already made its rounds, and I’ve anticipated a big performance like this ever since. Since 2014, we haven’t seen much new stuff from M83, but he’s announced that his upcoming album, “Junk,” will be here on April 8th. To give a taste of this, there was a sample of a track to go along with the announcement. The following 45 seconds are the most bittersweet sounds because I just wanted more, yet it ended so abruptly. So, if you’re feeling the dance vibes on this track, you’ll see why M83 is one of my most sought after EDM Coachella acts this year!
Nosaj Thing comes from Los Angeles who has been active way longer than his number of soundcloud followers would suggest. Definitely not one of the most popular names on this list, Nosaj Thing has been making beats and spinning records for about a decade. His productions include Kid Cudi’s “Man on the Moon,” both the track from Cudi’s first mixtape as well as his debut studio album. Since then, he’s continued to work with other rappers such as Kendrick Lamar on “Cloud 10,” and Chance the Rapper on “Paranoia.” If you’re not convinced by his impressive repertoire, get lost in his soundcloud to the gentle, wavy, hip hop beats and imagine you’re on the fields. Nosaj Thing has announced his “No Reality 2016” tour, which is stopping by Coachella as well as playing in Los Angeles at The Regent April 21. His set is sure to be soothing to a hip hop lover’s ear, and very resonant to an experimental beat lover’s.
Major Lazer is probably one of the biggest EDM Coachella Acts for 2016, and are going to bring a massive vibe as headliners. While many of my picks are pretty chill, it’s almost guaranteed that Diplo and crew will be making us all bounce. They first made big waves when Moombahton and other Dancehall music had a strong influence in EDM. Since then, Diplo’s dabbled into other projects before sparking another huge spike in Electronic music with Major Lazer’s latest album, “Peace Is The Mission.” If you haven’t heard “Lean On” in some capacity, you’ve been out of touch with one of the biggest anthems of what electronic music had to offer last year. The extended version of the album has added several tracks like the remix of “Light It Up,” “Wave,” featuring Kali Uchis, and Major Lazer’s own remix of Frank Ocean’s “Lost.” Their influence is huge across the globe, and I think that’s what’s really gonna make their Coachella performance remarkable, diverse, and a blessing to all ears. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Major Lazer in a really big environment other than a Mad Decent Block Party in San Diego. I trust that the open Indio air, the huge stage, and a full day of excellent music are going to build up to a Major Lazer performance that absolutely pops.
My excitement for Coachella can only be controlled by one thing and one thing only: Coachella!! It’s a mere month away, so the rush is coming full force as we await announcements like the DoLab lineup and the set times. Keep up with us for more info and tips on how to get through Coachella successfully as well as some past experiences in recent years. Be on the lookout for a sick batch of tracks to get pumped for the music, courtesy of our Music Lovers Anonymous team, coming very soon. If you catch even just one of these picks, you’re guaranteed to have a completely new idea of EDM Coachella acts for the future years to come.
Other notable acts that didn’t make the list but were worthy contenders include the following: 2manydjs, Nicole Moudaber, Robert DeLong, Disclosure, RL Grime, Justin Martin, Amine Edge & DANCE, Tensnake