10 Phoenix DJs and Producers You Need on Your Summer Playlist
DJ Stoneypie performs at the Crescent Ballroom on Saturday, December 31, 2016.
That Phoenix is full of talented producers is a pleasant surprise. Not long ago, before the rise of the venues and nightclubs of downtown Phoenix and weekly DJ-headlined pool parties, dance was merely a whisper in the noisy Phoenix music scene.
Now, there are dozens of award-winning and nationally playing DJs that call the Valley home. And many of those DJs actually produce their own original music and remixes.
So, while you’re tailoring your summer playlist, don't sleep on these locals.
If you’re a house-music nerd, you’ll really enjoy the clean complexity of Norris Division’s sound. Their songs and sets are carefully orchestrated to glide together and entrance the listener with ebbs and flows that draw the listener in, then release them. Their song composure is crisp and skillfully constructed. Their deep-house style has a mysterious, almost spacey vibe. Give their songs and sets some time; they build slowly but deliver gratifying vibrations of bass.
Bijou has gained a large national following and is moving up in the ranks with performances scheduled at EDC and Electric Zoo this summer (among other events). His original stuff is refreshing, well-crafted house party music with whispers of electro. His bass lines are grinding, heavy, and almost force a lip-curling “nasty face.” If you want to dirty up your summer nights, this is the music you want to do it to.
With a long list of original music, Cormac Beeler may be one of the most overlooked but highly talented DJs on the list. Beeler’s music is classic house: Tumbling, grooving moderate-tempo bass lines beg you to dance, while bright breaks uplift and woven-in vocals add a connecting layer.
Tune into Michelle Sparks if you’re looking for smarter tech-house that builds and takes you on a musical experience. While her original tracks are great, she excels at building sets, so we recommend checking those out and listening to them all the way through. (Fun fact: We profiled the budding local star earlier this year.)
DJ Stoneypie thrives when she’s sampling and mixing sets together. Her sound is of its own, but not really definable by “genre” terms. She’s been known to chop up harder bass styles to fast-tempo drum and bass to slowed down trap and hip-hop. You’ll hear vocal samples from all things hip-hop, rap, R&B, and house from the past few decades like Missy Elliott and Hardrive. She also throws in a fair share of wobbles and trippy, warped sound effects.
Hailing from Phoenix, Gerry Gonza has managed to do quite a few “big” things and fly under the radar. He’s collaborated with some pretty successful acts like Three Cool Cats and local stars Bijou. Gonza has got some pretty good mixes, like “Bad Bitches,” and his originals include a lot of sampled vocals along pretty consistent bass lines that carry a funky, techy, and at times deep-house “4 a.m. after hours at the club” melody.
If not anything, Blossom is the pinkest, smiliest DJ on this list. However, don’t let her pink hair and bubbly personality fool you: Her sets are nasty. Leaning towards more trap styles, Blossom produces a lot of remixes, often bringing a higher-energy new life to tracks by adding a bouncier beat and distorted synths.
Ambient and romantic are two words that describe the original music from Heavy Hearts. The slow, drawn-out bass lines that lead to intense instrumental breaks accompanied by floating synths mean you wouldn't be wrong to describe their music as dreamy.
The evil duck-headed DJ duo from Tempe has been around the local scene for a few years now. Most recently, they’ve released a lot of trap remixes of R&B classics like Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” and R. Kelly’s “Ignition.” They’ve also got a new, pretty intense remix of Slushii’s “Catch Me.” If you like bouncy verses and choruses that sound like sirens going off, this is the poolside booty-shaking music you need.
If you favor club music with a hip-hop flare, Meanmugg’s vocal-heavy, original tracks should soundtrack your summer. Meanmugg’s songs do a lot of back-and-forth between genres: One minute you feel like you’re listening to a rap song, then things quickly turn into an almost house-sounding club anthem. But Meanmugg isn’t a one-trick pony; while he stays within his club/hip-hop style with all of his music, the emotional range of his music is vast. Tracks like “Hood Go Crazy” are rap-heavy, darker, and more trap-influenced, while “Buy the World” is brighter, less vocal, and more dance-influenced.
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