Miami's Ten Best Electronic Music Acts

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 & 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 the Winter Music Conference and Miami Music Week. To commemorate all of that booty bouncin', here are Miami's ten best electronic music acts.

1. Murk. 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 weren'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 also became 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

2. Otto von Schirach. No one has helped booty bass evolve over the past 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 beatmaker 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

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 Miami stuff like DJ Laz, Phoenecia, and Murk, he got into DJ'ing by age 13, spent 14 years paying his dues, and broke out in 2011 with the 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 for him to come home. S. Pajot

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 age 15, and he's been living in Miami for the past 16 years. So yes, he's earned a set of MIA cred. 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

5. Craze. 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

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 and Push Button Objects and 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, titled Lewd Archives. Quite possibly, Romulo Del Castillo is one of the busiest guys in the world of underacknowledged electronic music. Liz Tracy

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

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

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

10. GTA. 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

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kat Bein is a freelance writer and has been described as this publication’s "senior millennial correspondent." She has an impressive, if unhealthy, knowledge of all things pop culture.
Sean Levisman
S. Pajot
Liz Tracy has written for publications such as the New York Times, the Atlantic, Refinery29, W, Glamour, and, of course, Miami New Times. She was New Times Broward-Palm Beach's music editor for three years. Now she plays one mean monster with her 2-year-old son and obsessively watches British mysteries.
Contact: Liz Tracy