Co-written with Matthew Wolfe
So far this summer has been very, very good to Californian bassheads and festival goers from around the globe. With festivals like Coachella, Serenity, LIB, & What The Festival already behind us, and many, many more on the horizon; California has become one of the hottest places to be this summer for bass music of all flavors.This weekend, we’re headed back out into the beautiful Redwood forests of Northern California for the next installment of what was arguably the best breakout festival of the year in 2014, Northern Nights. Nestled deep in the humblingly epic forest, by a wonderfully swimmable river, and featuring artists from every spectrum of electronica, this festival absolutely blew our minds last year, and now they’re gearing up to do it again in only three days.
Featuring an incredibly diverse lineup of artists from all over the world, Northern Nights is really raising the bar with their lineup this year, and we can’t wait to see how it plays out. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of the the top 5 underground artists you really need to check out while you’re enjoying in the Humboldt sun. Of course you’re going to be seeing Black Star, G Jones, Shlomo, Polish, & Sweater Beats, but who else is guaranteed to rock your socks off? Pretty much everybody to be honest, but you should check out our list below if you’re curious.
From further up north in the Humboldt fog comes another rising star in the west coast bass music scene. Christian Sudweeks aka Suds, has been a driving force in the bass music community of Humboldt county for quite a few years, and is just now starting to break into the mainstream bass music scene of the greater west coast. His brain whisking bass music features a uniquely filthy sound that every bass music fan can get behind. A set from Suds is pure, unadulterated, face melting madness that tends to turn dancefloor into chaos fairly quickly. If you fancy yourself a fan of filthy bass heavy party music then you do not want to miss Suds this weekend.
#4 Awesome Tapes From Africa
Welcome to the internet, where you can fill a niche that no one even knew was there; as long as you have some awesome tunes, that is. Brian Shimkovitz began the Awesome Tapes from Africa project in 2002 while he was studying the local music scene in Ghana. After discovering regional cassette merchants and realizing that the music on these tapes was basically unlike anything else being made in the world, he decided to share them with the world. By posting songs via his blog (titled Awesome Tapes from Africa), these artists trickled into the underground scene and soon there were plenty who wanted to hear more. Since 2011, Shimkovitz has turned his blog into a full-on record label and often DJs his extensive collection of African beats at gatherings like Northern Nights. So, if you’re really itching to hear something new and exciting, be sure to check him out!
#3 Psy Fi
Another artist from Northern California, Psy Fi has been consistently making tripped out synth heavy bass music featuring some of the best space work and ambience on the west coast. Recently, Psy Fi has really been turning up the heat with his production and style of bass music, getting dirtier heavier, and louder as his evolution as an artist continues its relentless march forward. We saw Psy Fi play at Emissions and were blown away by his new sounds. We can’t wait to hear what he’s got in store for everyone this weekend. Do not miss this set.
#2 Luck & Lana
Luckyiam from Livin’ Legends & renowned singer/songwriter MC Lana Shea have joined forces for something that we can’t wait to experience live. Their style of music is a combination of old school Hip Hop, Dubstep, Trap Music, & Soul that comes together to create something really f*cking magical. Their performance at Northern promises to be electrifying at the very least. We highly suggest you put these two on your schedule.
#1 Ao Beats
AO Beats hails from the East Coast and definitely sits in the ‘can’t miss’ category of performances. He’s got a knack for seamlessly blending pop, R&B, and that good good we all know as trap music into a sound that’s uniquely his own. His beats drip with crisp, hi-fi melodies quickly draw the listener in with downright addictive grooves. It’s no wonder he’s a part of the Moving Castle Collective, one of the most innovative crews in the scene today. We can’t wait to see what AO Beats has in store for us at Northern Nights!
So there you have it, five guaranteed underground grand slams for you to peep this weekend while you explore the redwoods with friends new & old. We’d like to take this time to also fully endorse the sustainability green team at Northern Nights, who are going to be going above and beyond to make sure the festival grounds look even better than when we left them. The Polish Ambassador is even hosting a TPA Action Day the day before the festival (the 16th) that anyone is free to join, be sure to check out the facebook page for details. Part of the reason our culture get such a bad rep is due to lack of respect not only for each other but for the environments we party in. That’s why we fully endorse this forward thinking mindset and encourage you to carry it with you wherever you happen to be partying this summer. See you in the Redwoods!