Calvin Harris’ ‘Feels’ video prominently features the DJ playing a bass guitar. Daft Punk recently announced their 2017 “Rock Roll” tour will feature a full live band on all 25 dates. These are two high profile examples of a recent growing trend of electronic music artists opting to perform using live instruments rather than a pair of turntables. Magnetic Mag has hailed this as a “live performance revolution,” taking over dance music. To take a closer look, here are some of the best artists doing that today.
After topping the charts with a series of collaborations with top vocal talent, Disclosure has become one of the most in-demand production groups in electronic music. Luckily their on-stage show is no disappointment.
Disclosure’s live setup includes guitars, keyboards and drums. In an interview the band revealed that they only performed with live instruments because they didn’t know how to DJ. Since they learned instruments to replicate the Rock, Pop, and Soul music they grew up listening to, when they were invited to clubs to play their first dance hits, they naturally brought their instruments with them. While this may have been a surprise for the club owners at the time, it certainly worked out for the best.
Another dance production group with live instrumental chops, KNOXA have been on the rise since forming in 2015 and joining MN2S in 2016. Based in a residential studio in Bath, the trio can play 12 instruments between them, and they’re also skilled DJs, giving them the versatility to play many different kinds of shows.
Their sound is something completely new, combining their Jazz and Rock influences with a Pop sensibility and a deep love of House and dance music in general.
3. Big Gigantic
One of the most eclectic acts on the list, Big Gigantic’s live show features Dominic Lalli on the saxophone and Jeremy Salken on the drums. The two musicians met in Boulder, Colorado, and immediately began to work on a fusion of live Jazz and electronic beats. The result has been hugely popular with anyone who has seen them.
Big Gigantic saxophonist Lalli has a master’s degree in Jazz, and the group’s sound really benefits from his hard schooled chops. Along with the electronic side of their act, these live instruments help make the artist unique.
Detroit native GRiZ has added to his city’s illustrious musical history with his innovative blend of Future Funk and Jazz, and his pioneering excursions into Glitch Hop. Another classically-trained musician, GRiZ became fascinated by classical music after watching Disney’s Fantasia as a child. He learned piano, then oboe, and finally saxophone, placing him alongside Big Gigantic in the surprisingly crowded field of electronic music saxophonists.
5. Floating Points
Originally known solely as a DJ, Floating Points surprised fans by adopting a live instrument-based approach to performance in 2015. His 11-piece electronic orchestra featured a guitarist, two violinists, a flautist, a tromboner, a cellist, a rhodes player, a woodwind player and a violist.
Unsurprisingly, this lineup created a lush and vivid soundscape — the kind Floating Points is known for cooking up in the studio.
Book KNOXA to bring these truly great instrument-playing electronic artists to your venue.