Miami's 25 Best Electronic Music Acts
Murk's Oscar G, a true Miami house OG.
Photo by Stian Roenning
The 305 helped invent modern dance music.
In the late 1970s, Henry Stone's TK Records, headquartered in Hialeah, pumped out disco hit after disco hit from KC and the Sunshine Band, even introducing the word booty into the pop lexicon.
Today, Miami party music is still making asses shake. And the local electronic scene is booming, with old-school DJs, barely-legal producers, and longtime label heads reppin' that MIA sound and stepping up as ambassadors for their city.
In 2014, there's been a Grammy, a solid showing of Miami acts at Ultra Music Festival, and lots of gritty 305 shit going down during Winter Music Conference and Miami Music Week.
To commemorate all that booty bouncin' and head noddin', here are Miami's 25 best electronic music acts.
Imagine a night at the club when you've sipped too many (or too few) Stolis and tonics. Your ex just showed up. You just might cry. And you definitely don't want to dance any faster than some guy wearing mascara in a slow-mo music video. For those moments in Miami, we have Eons, an emo electro duo that channels '80s synthpop via 2010s indietronica. Now, in the wake of last year's debut Time & Space EP and singles like "Stay," this twosome -- Johnny D and Matty G -- will be playing their first Ultra Music Festival this weekend. So grab another drink and tell your ex to stay home. S. Pajot
See also: Downtown Miami's Five Best Dance Clubs
24. Ed Matus
You may remember the late '90s band Ed Matus' Struggle that included former Torche guitarist Juan Montoya. Of course, though, Matus is more than just a muse to his fellow musicians. He's been a staple of the South Florida scene for decades with such acts as Subliminal Criminal, Cavity, Swivel Stick, H.A.L.O. Vessel, and the Waterford Landing. But these days, he's working on his solo electronic sounds. He just put out a six song EP on Schematic Records, Act Like They Know, which he recently described to the New Times as "organic, noisy, futuristic, and serene all at the same time." Liz Tracy
23. Staccato du Mal
Ramiro Jeancarlo has been making music since the '90s and his project, most currently titled Staccato du Mal, has almost never performed live. He uses vintage early analog synthesizers and drum machines which he customizes to suit his purposes to create addictive minimal synth songs. His bio says the dynamic he has with his machines creates a "special relationship between artist and instrument." Stereogum even named him one of the "18 Dark Bands to Watch in 2011." On his Weird Records release, his first LP, Sin Destino, he sings in both Spanish and English -- very much a sign he's from Miami. More recently, he and his friend Gio Ardito started an "obscure" music night in Coral Gables, Zeitgeist. Though they play atypical party sounds, the dance floor definitely stays busy. Liz Tracy
22. Nuri & Poshtronaut
If you've enjoyed locally grown rap lately, you've more than likely been shakin' your ass to Nuri & Poshtronaut at least part of the time. But this Miami duo defies classification. Bringing together two underground stars in their own right, their instrumental collaborative productions straddle hip-hop, drum 'n' bass, and even dancier stuff. So even though they're go-to beat bakers for the Miami rap scene, N&P's dance floor-inspired, soulful productions pull tighter at your feels, no vocals necessary. They've just gotten started, but judging by the few tracks that they've already released, the 305 and the world can expect big things. Kat Bein
21. Greg Beato
Maybe you haven't heard of Greg Beato yet. But that's only because homeboy likes it that way, taking his cues from a bygone era in electronic dance music when underground producers reveled in their white label obscurity and let the music speak for itself. The amazing thing here is that a 19-year old Miami kid could be heir to that rare type of artistic ethos. Beato's sound might not hit your personal pleasure zone either, with its raw-as-fuck brutalist approach to Detroit and Chicago trax, strictly for the heads. But it's the sound that's found him a home on labels like Apron and L.I.E.S., challenging tastes with a no-frills, back-to-basics techno aesthetic. Sean Levisman
See also: Miami's Ten Best Music Releases of 2013
Skittering from freestyle to booty bass to straight-up pop, Afrobeta's Cuci Amador and Tony Smurphio have always made music that appeals to the collective memories of Miami 20- and 30-somethings raised in the late '80s and early '90s. As Cuci once told Crossfade: "I love when somebody's in the crowd, and you're singing the song to them, and they come up to you like, 'Oh my God, that's totally happened to me!'" Over the years, they've played Ultra and Ultra and Ultra. (Oh, and Burning Man too.) They've won a pair of New Times Best of Miami awards. They've ranked among Crossfade's 50 Best Miami Bands. And now, after a slight lull in Afrobeta activity following 2011's Under the Streets album, Cuci and Tony are back for another trip to Ultra land -- which answers the question: Do they party? S. Pajot
See also: 50 Best Miami Bands of All Time
19. Kurtz & Bomber
Panic Bomber is music man Richard Haig, the winner of New Times' Best New Electronica Artist of 2009. In recent years, he's teamed up with Troy Kurtz, who worked with the Overthrow party people and now lives in Los Angeles. As Kurtz & Bomber, they are a house-heavy team and they just want to make you dance. Though both continue to pursue solo work, they are currently booking a summer UK tour and still drafting new collaborative material. So until those next Kurtz & Bomber songs drop, check out their Work on Me EP, which provides the sunniest house that any dark and wild night might need. Liz Tracy
Specializing in the kind of dubstep, hip-hop, house, trap, and moombahton assault that crushes skulls and snaps necks, Caligula's Damaged Goods and Mikey Millions use 808s, erratic tempos, and wobbles to turn the dance floor into a sweaty, bloody mess. "The common link through everything we do is bass," as Mikey likes to say, whether it is 2011's Rise EP, last year's SVBLIMAT1ON, or a dungeon-ready 3 a.m. Caligula DJ set. And these days, Mr. Millions recently told Crossfade, "we're taking the mid '00s sound of Young Jeezy, and TI, everything we look back on as almost classic now, and giving it to the people mixed right into their EDM. Which is what they love. And you gotta give the people what they love." That's on the trap tip of Caligula's shit. And Miami's bass-addled masochist are definitely begging for another beating. S. Pajot
More producer than he is DJ, Atrasolis is the man behind some seriously beautiful and complex productions. He's a rare act to catch at the club, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been holed away in his studio working on the future of Miami beats. He's also been busy working on a new live performance setup, mashing those MPC buttons like a grown-up Latin Madeon. His next album is coming soon. But for now, kick back and enjoy the ride of Control Tower, a four-track concept EP that'll have you dancing from takeoff to landing. Kat Bein
See also: Atrasolis Talks New Control Tower EP, Haters, and the Miami Scene
16. Brass Knuckles
Emerging from the Miami recording studio scene, Danny D'Brito, Tony Livadas, and Anthony Pisano paid their dues by producing for industry artists like Jagged Edge and knocking out underground remixes of pop tracks like Cee Lo's "Fuck You." But then the trio released its debut solo original single, "Lie to You," on Nervous Records. And within a year, Brass Knuckles was signed to Ultra Music with three singles -- "Bad Habits," "Hurricane," and "As Long as I'm Alive" -- on deck. By 2013, D'Brito, Livadas, and Pisano's tracks were being dropped in Ultra sets by Knife Party, Krewella and Adventure Club. And if that's not enough to impress, these dudes often also incorporate live saxophone into their club gigs. Buhooomu-hoooooooom. S. Pajot
15. Niko Javan
Trap master flash is making waves, but he wants you to know that he's got more up his sleeve than the usual. As one half of O'Grime, Niko Javan got noticed for his wild beats and even wilder visuals. Recently cosigned by Diplo's Mad Decent, the Miami native has been making treks to L.A., learning new tricks in the studio, and putting the final touches on a ton of new material. His debut solo EP, Erbody Yoppin, is ten tracks of hyphy awesomeness, featuring O'Grime's L.Rey and plenty of their Metro Zu friends to lay down rhymes. But Javan won't settle for stereotyping himself, and he promises that 2014 will see a wide range of styles and productions from a talented man who's just getting started. Kat Bein
At 20 years old, Chalk is one of the youngest producer-DJs on the scene, but part of what makes him such an incredible talent is his deep sense of soulful maturity. Born in the early '90s, his baby brain must have soaked up the sounds like a thirsty sponge, because he churns out the house with unparalleled authenticity. His mixing is impeccable, often spinning all-vinyl sets, but his original productions are even more moving. Sometimes he gets on the mic, and it's not even terrible! Signed to Jesse Perez's Mr. Nice Guy Records, he'll be hitting the streets making a name for himself this WMC and MMW. If you see Chalk on a line-up, don't be a fool and run on over. You're going to want to say you were there from the ground up. Kat Bein
13. Dude Skywalker
Threesome Dude Skywalker may be among the new kids on the block this year, but they've definitely landed with an auspicious bang. Back in May, the Dudes arrived on the wings of their debut Feel Good EP, having "time-traveled from 3046 with the dance music of the future." The EP, a slice of quintessentially Miami tropical space disco won them immediate local acclaim, and they've kept the momentum going with follow-ups like the Soular System and Together EPs. From the moment that they promised to be "explorers of sound with no regard for genres, time, or space -- just that good shit," we knew we'd have to keep an eye on the Dudes. Sean Levisman
Individually, the Sluggers dudes are two DJ-producers beloved by both Miami clubbers and partiers from farther-flung scenes. Put them together, and you've got one of the hottest rising duos on the dance floor. And though they're pretty much a brand new tag team, they're already releasing funky, dark house music through Skrillex's OWSLA imprint. That's one of the best starts you can ask for. Look out for them during WMC and MMW, and listen close for their tracks in mixes from the big dogs. Kat Bein
Few local EDM producers encapsulate the Miami scene's unique homegrown melting pot of bass music styles more than SomeJerk, AKA John Gregory. With an ever-shifting sound that veers from the heavier sonic variants of bass, like grime and dubstep, to moombahton's fun, campy beats to forward-thinking future bass forays, SomeJerk always stays ahead of the curve. When he's not rattling speakers and pummeling chests at a local bass night, you can count on him to be toiling over his latest studio monster, or getting ready to drop a new cut on his Signaflo label. Sean Levisman
If you don't know by now, you may never know: local duo GTA has been putting Miami on the map. Just a few years ago, Van Toth and JWLS were underdogs, picked up fast by Laidback Luke, then put on tracks with monsters like Diplo, Deadmau5, and A-Trak. For the better part of 2013, they hit the road on a world tour, opening for none less than Barbadian bad gal Rihanna and playing to packed-out stadiums. But at the end of the day, they're still just a couple of boys from Kendall. So go catch the GTA guys at their first official Ultra Music Festival set and show the local stunners some love. Kat Bein
Photo by Bleeding Palm
9. Juan Basshead
If this city is known for anything, it's bass. And Juan Basshead has taken that fantastic cause of hearing loss and twerking, and made it his moniker. He's a DJ, a producer, and the boss of Basshead Music. (The label's got some big names on it, with 12th Planet, Bassnectar, Datsik, and Zeds Dead representing.) He was also the resident DJ for the now-defunct dubstep party Get Low at The Vagabond. So yes, he's definitely made your booty bounce a bit on a drunken Wednesday night or two. Even if you don't quite remember. Liz Tracy
8. Lazaro Casanova
Since the mid-2000s, Lazaro has been a local favorite, when he was still a fledgling DJ, cutting his teeth on downtown Miami's burgeoning indie dance music scene. But he has become a full-blown international EDM sensation, thanks to his exuberant, tropically flavored house productions and beloved petFood label. Sure, Lazaro could have easily followed the trend of local artists migrating away as soon as they hit the big time. But instead, he has stuck around, helping build bridges between Miami and other dance music capitals, like Los Angeles and London, by recruiting and collaborating with fellow international artists. Talk about local love. Sean Levisman
7. Jesse Perez
If Miami is the booty capital of the world, then Jesse Perez has undoubtedly become our number-one ambassador. The dirty mastermind behind Mr. Nice Guy Records (and track titles like "Dejen de Comer Tanta Pinga" and "Interracial Booty Call") has only one imperative, and that's to cause pregnancy booms when his club beats drop. "Some call it hood house or gangsta house," Jesse once told us about his quintessentially Miami brand of sonic sleaze. "I refer to it as ass-clapping music or bump 'n' grind. It's all about having a good time." Sean Levisman
6. Romulo Del Castillo
In 1996, Romulo Del Castillo and Josh Kay launched an enduring electronic music scene in Miami with their label Schematic Records. They signed artists like Prefuse73, Push Button Objects, worked with Matmos, Jamie Lidell, and many other local and international artists. Currently, Del Castillo is still collaborating on new music and putting out albums on the label. He's working with one of Schematic's artists, Ed Matus, and experimental Danish electronic jazz group Badun. He's also planning releases from Soul Oddity -- a project by Kay and Del Castillo that once issued music on Astralwerks -- as well as a Phoenecia compendium of 30 rare tunes, entitled Lewd Archives. Quite possibly, Romulo Del Castillo is one of the busiest guys in the world of under-acknowledged electronic music. Liz Tracy
Dude is a legend in Miami and beyond. He's been recognized as one of the greatest turntablists on the planet since the '90s. He's won three DMC world championships and used to run as part of the Allies crew, alongside A-Trak and others. Now he's the big boss at Slow Roast Records, making beautiful music with NYC's Kill the Noise and paving the way for talented up-and-comers. Most recently, Craze and turntable destroyer Klever came together for a new production duo, aptly named Café con Leche. Cue interracial Miami LOLs. Kat Bein
4. Cedric Gervais
Born in France, Cedric Gervais became a DJ long before he could legally enter the club. He moved to South Beach at the age of 15 and he's been living in Miami for the last 16 years. So yes, he's earned a set of MIA creds. And while holding down residencies over the years at Crobar, Space, and LIV, Gervais has steadily climbed the EDM production ranks, dropping two full-length artist albums, as well as singles like 2009 Pete Tong fave, "Mauri's Dream," and infamous 2012 raver anthem "Molly." However, his hugest achievement was certainly last year's remix of Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness," which earned a Grammy and made Cedric the latest, most in-demand remixer to the stars. These days, the guy's even working with Miley Cyrus. And guaranteed, he'll fix her lackluster tracks. He might even be able to teach the girl how to twerk. S. Pajot
3. Danny Daze
Even though he set off on an extended international vacation about two years ago, stopping over in Barcelona before moving on to Berlin, Danny Daze will remain 305 till he dies. (After all, bro's Twitter account still boasts Miami as his hometown.) Raised on stuff like DJ Laz, Phoenicia, and Murk, he got into DJing by the age of 13, spent 14 years paying his dues, and broke out in 2011 with massive club hit, "Your Everything," released on revered label Hot Creations. In the intervening three years, Danny's continued to up his star cred, dropping remixes for Madonna, releasing new original cuts on Maceo Plex's Ellum Audio, and producing tracks for Nervous Records, Dirtybird, and Jimmy Edgar's Ultramajic imprint. Now we're just waiting on him to come home. S. Pajot
2. Otto von Schirach
No one has helped booty bass evolve over the last 15 years as much as Otto von Schirach. One of this city's most colorful characters and wildest performers, he's been touring for over a decade, bringing Miami music to the world. Though the beat-maker has been spinning booty records since he was in middle school, von Schirach's career really took off with a 2004 Skinny Puppy tour and, soon after, a release on Mike Patton's label, Ipecac Recordings. He makes "weird music" that caters to both connoisseurs and the mainstream. But yeah, it's all danceable. Currently signed to Modeselektor's Monkeytown label, Otto is one of the most prolific and significant musicians on the electronic music scene. Period. Liz Tracy
What's left to be said about Miami house legends Murk? We wouldn't even have a homegrown house music scene on which to base this list if it wasn't for the pioneering work of Oscar Gaetan and Ralph Falcon. Not only did they put Miami on the international house music map in the '90s, but they would also become one of the genre's best-selling acts of all time, sending seven consecutive singles to number one on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. Hardly relics of the past, the Murk boys are still converting house heads and burning up dance floors today. Sean Levisman
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