As the summer festival season approaches, the dance music sphere erupts with activity. Taking a look back to the last 3 years of this scene, you can easily see not only how the entire genre has evolved, but also how the culture has become more popular. An exponential growth in festival attendees and interest in dance music has opened up many opportunities.

These opportunities are then taken by those who want it the most, which are the striving newcomers. These producers are hungry to get their music out to the public but at the same time, they make the music they want to make and have fun with it. That alone is one of the most dynamic qualities of new music makers: the fact that maybe their tunes have seen the main stage, but they haven\’t been tainted by the mainstream.

This makes it all more desirable and interesting to watch the new acts that have taken over the industry. Dance music has a weird concept: anyone can torrent studio programs and plugins to make their own music, but becoming successful with it is rare. You have to find your own distinct sound and style.

These next listed acts have established some solid ground over time. There are many talents out there, but these are the ones that stand out the most and are set to have a thriving summer. With that being said, I present to you:

EDM Chicago\’s Summer Newcomers: Top 5 Acts to Watch

5. Boombox Cartel

To kick things off, we show some love to a Midwest duo who has been on top of their game recently. Minneapolis based Boombox Cartel started off making \’festival trap\’ edits and evolved to create their own formula. They blend different genres in their tracks smooth and fluidly. Their remix of Get Low, a hit song from the likes of Dillon Francis and DJ Snake, throws Melbourne Bounce together with some modern trap. Their hit Where\’s My Money saw heavy support from Adventure Club; check out the rest of their music and catch them at Spring Awakening in June.

4. Tropkillaz

Brazilian bass – this is what best describes Tropkillaz. This duo has been hard at work creating a distinct library of their own music; whether it\’s the Jamaican orientated Big Bambu, or the old school West Coast sounding Dopeman Please, the energy pulses through all of their unalike tracks. Tropical vibes meet the newer \’twerk\’ genre in HOTDAMN! which happens to be my favorite of their work. Some collaborations with DJ Craze and Yellow Claw have also gotten Tropkillaz on the map.

3. Ape Drums

His name speaks for his work; Ape Drums is a master of the drums. You can hear the aggressive kicks and heavy snares come alive in his music. Ape Drums has been involved in the revival of the Dancehall genre. First made famous by artists like Sean Paul, this older Jamaican genre focuses on high energy, fun and loopy beats. Now that it has been implemented into dance music thanks to main stage acts such as Major Lazer, Ape Drums fits in perfectly. His remix of AutoErotique\’s LZR Bass is a big-room monster. He also experiments with Moombahton in Dude, which shares the same title and samples a familiar reggae track.

2. Odesza

Dance music is not just repetitive club music with loud kicks and bass drops. There\’s a whole other spectrum of it; the futuristic sounds, chill beats, and happy vibes that come from Odesza is well worth noting. This duo began working together as a project in 2012 but really began to see the spotlight after remixing One Day They\’ll Know by Pretty Lights. It\’s pretty tough describing Odesza\’s style, but it\’s definitely worth talking about; their music is just different in the best way possible. Their latest work Lost and Found is a spirit-lifting remix and a more atmospheric take to the original track.

1. Snails

My latest obsession has been \’vomit-step\’ which is a new genre of dubstep; it\’s so filthy and disgusting, that you basically projectile vomit listening to it. Just kidding, but this is how Snails actually describes his music. Why does he deserve this spot? The answer can be found, or heard, in his music; where trap meets dubstep is where Snails lurks. It\’s improvisation that makes this Montreal based producer so likable. If you stop and stick with one genre in dance music, you will eventually be left in the dust. Improvising with multiple genres makes Snails fun to listen to. Not only does he produce with this in mind, but he also implements his very own sounds on top of it all. You know you\’ve done well in your production when you create a distinct sound that cannot be duplicated. His track Dirty Raxxx was played by the legendary Skrillex at Coachella and he has a very anticipated collaboration with Antiserum entitled Wild coming soon. In the featured track, Snails leaves his comfort zone to team up with his Montreal neighbors Botnek for an insane electro house tune called KRMT. Don\’t just listen to this one track; I challenge you to visit his SoundCloud and hear the rest of his work. The expectations are set high for Snails and we are sure to hear more of his tunes rock the main stages of this summer festival season.

We live in a time where dance music is a living, breathing thing. Its expansion has opened up many doors for hopeful producers and has allowed them to pursue their dreams with confidence. The new breed of music maker doesn’t have to be professional; dance music has given the chance to common listeners who may love music just as much as the musician.

Mainstream DJs are only popular because we give them our ears and money; we should be supporting the more talented acts instead, even if they’re not favored yet. Support them by listening and sharing their work. My choices focused on the fact that the best way to get music out there is to make it free, so I chose these 5 acts because most of their tracks can be downloaded on their SoundCloud or Facebook.

We love giving the spotlight to those who deserve it. I hope you have enjoyed reading this and maybe even discovered some new music worthy of a listen.