The day we’ve all been waiting for is almost here: HARD Day of the Dead is about to pop off at the Pomona Fairplex on Nov. 1st and 2nd! Started in 2007 by Gary Richards, the HARD event series has been steadily growing in scale and popularity ever since. Internationally recognized headliners like Knife Party, Pretty Lights, Diplo, Deadmau5, Eric Prydz, Calvin Harris, Zedd and Bassnectar are expected draw in crowds of over 40,000 per day. But the cool thing about Hard DotD isn’t just that it attracts huge headliners (although that in itself is pretty awesome)—it’s also fun figuring out who next year’s headliners are going to be.
Gary Richards has an ear for developing talent, which is why HARD features some of the best up-and-coming artists in the EDM game. You’ve already heard Knife Party and Deadmau5, but have you heard Botnek and Motez? Check out our curated list of 5 up-and-coming artists to see at Hard Day of the Dead.
Michael Dodman (stage name Huxley) has been DJing since he was 12 years old, although for many he seems to have come out of nowhere. With garage music roots in the sleepy UK town of Tring, Huxley has since carved out a space for himself in the UK house music scene and doesn’t seem to be stepping down anytime soon. One thing that sets Huxley apart is his ability to deftly dip into a variety of EDM sub-genres while maintaining a coherent voice—the mark of a mature producer. Check out his newest hit, “Give 2 U” below.
Snakehips makes music for the future with samples from the past. For the past 18 months they’ve been setting music blogs on fire with remixes for Banks, The Weeknd, Bondax, and Wild Belle. Hailing from London, 24-year-olds Oliver Lee and James Carter drop tunes somewhere between 90s R&B and 2015 glitch-hop. Their music takes you somewhere outside of time, which is maybe the reason why it’s so easy to spend entire afternoons floating listlessly through their Soundcloud playlist. Take a listen to their newest track with Sinead Harnett, “Days with You.”
Rustie (aka Russell White) may not be new to the game per se, as he’s been a DJ for over fifteen years now, but he has been hitting a pretty nice stride lately. With the release of his second album, Green Language, garnering two “best new track” awards from Pitchfork, Rustie is going to be one of those acts you won’t want to miss at Hard. Rustie takes a careful, thoughtful approach to crafting sound that results in unapologetically bold and aggressive beats that evoke sudden impulses to get up and dance. Check out his new track, “Attak” here before you hear it at Hard.
You’ve probably heard Botnek even if you’ve never heard of them. Hailing from a small Canadian town, their humble beginnings lie in stark contrast to their meteoric rise to success. Their remix of “Animals” was so popular Martin Garrix himself started playing their version in his sets instead of the original. In the same vein, the Botnek remix of “Selfie” shot to #1 on Beatport and refused to step down for two weeks. And they opened for none other than Kill the Noise on his recent Majestic as Fak Tour. Do we really need to say more?
“Funky” is not an adjective often used to describe deep house DJ’s, but Motez’s tracks are undeniably funky. As a producer who started playing classical piano at a young age, he’s something of a music connoisseur. Used to effortlessly drawing from an eclectic range of influences and reconstructing them into deep house beats, Motez has sampled artists from Ellie Goulding to Sage the Gemini. And it seems to be working, as he’s earned nods from the likes of MTV and Flume, not to mention his two Hypemachine #1 tracks. Even if you’re not usually into deep house, Motez will make you a believer.
Did we miss anyone? Who are you looking forward to seeing at Hard? Tweet us!
Not going to Hard? No worries! We’ve got plenty of other Halloween weekend options in our Top Halloween Parties in LA post!