Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is the currently one of the fastest growing musical genres of our time. The presence of artists such as Avicii, Skrillex, Deadmau5, and Swedish House Mafia; and superstar producers like Calvin Harris and Dr. Luke, to name a few, has introduced/propelled a large subculture of dance music that enlivens old and new fans alike.
The wave of EDM can be felt throughout clubs, raves, house parties, and music festivals internationally. The incessant, pulsating EDM sound has traveled onto the shores of the Caribbean, in the form of what is called Caribbean Dance Music (CDM). CDM is the fusion of techno, trap, and dubstep with traditional Caribbean music – soca, reggae, zouk, calypso, dancehall, and others like it. It employs Caribbean instruments and artists with endless dance records, as was evident in the collaborative performance of Major Lazer’s Jillionaire, Bunji Garlin, and Machel Montano at this year’s Coachella Music Festival in Los Angeles, California.
At the beginning of August, The CDM Generation – a Caribbean network of producers, DJs, and promoters created to propel CDM – held the inaugural CDM conference in Trinidad & Tobago. With the rise of CDM and the CDM generation, the presence of great beat makers like Nuphoric, Bass Monstars, Alric & Boyd, and Jus Now, the need to learn more about this new, fast spreading sound and the people behind it is becoming more important with each passing day.
Here are seven key producers to get familiar with.
Island: Trinidad & Tobago
Notable Sound: Trouble by M.I.A.
Los Angeles based producer + DJ, Antonio “Subtropik” Davis represents the exquisite twin island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. His recent mix of the infamous Major Lazer + DJ Snake track – Lean On – is quickly becoming a favorite amongst the EDM and CDM groups, respectively. As a rising, young producer, he is adept at mixing the right tracks that are uptempo and full of energy.
Island: St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Notable Sound: Ignorant by Skinny Fabolous
Alex “Kubiyashi” Barnwell is responsible for the sound of Machel Montano’s hit – Happiest Man Alive. He is well known for diversifying the sound of soca music. Growing up in Canada contributed to his eclectic musical ear and extensive experience with a variety of genres, but his Vincentian roots have always played an essential role to his musical creations.
Island: Puerto Rico
Notable Sound: Agora
Born + raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, Christian “SirK” Robles is fast becoming an EDM sensation. The talented, young producer has been honing his beat production skills since the age of 17. He is a gifted pianist and percussionist, resulting in a sound that is edgy, rhythmic and full of hard-hitting percussion instruments.
Notable Sound: Ganja Man
DJ, producer + founder of the New Wave Future Dancehall sound, KickRaux, has always understood the importance of Caribbean Dance Music. Hailing from a music-filled household in Jamaica, KickRaux is the creative genius behind powerful, high-energy sounds including the dance mix of the MIA + Jay-z track, XXXO and the recent remix of Kranium’s Nobody Has to Know with Major Lazer.
4. Evan White
Notable Sound: This Could Be Love
Evander Candelaria, better known as Evan White, started his Caribbean EDM career at the young age of 15. The few years since then have seen a fast rise to his budding career. He has been featured at numerous parties and festivals, and even opened for some of the biggest names of the EDM scene, including Wolfpack, Stefan Vilijn, and famed EDM sibling duo – Dimitri Vegas + Like Mike.
Island: Trinidad & Tobago
Notable Sound: Grasping Sunlight
Friends, Matthew Charles and Joshua Morena, collaborated to form one of the most dynamic musical production teams – EleChords. Founded in March 2014, the Trinbagonian duo differentiates themselves by bringing an “elegant touch” to dance music. They’re debut album – Animals in Suits – was released in December 2014.
Island: Puerto Rico
Notable Sound: Spellbound
JVO began his career as a DJ, before embarking solely on the bass music genre of EDM. However, he heavily experiments with a lot of different genres and subgenera of music, including hip-hop, bass, + dubstep, to name a few. He credits his interest in EDM to the sounds of popular producers Skrillex and Borgore. He often collaborates with fellow EDM musician – Killa MC.
For more CDM tracks, check out our playlist.