This is a hard time for music artists — especially those who are just now trying to break into the industry. Fortunately, electronic dance music (EDM) companies, like Brownies and Lemonade and Insomniac Records, have been hosting virtual music festivals, where millions of listeners have been tuning in, since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Many artists are struggling at the moment, especially since they aren’t receiving revenue from ticket sales for an indefinite period of time. On the bright side, these livestreams have given lesser-known artists exposure to the public, allowing them to gain new fans despite being unable to perform live.
It’s time that these underappreciated artists receive the recognition they deserve. The following up-and-comers were invited to participate in livestreams put on by either Brownies and Lemonade or Insomniac Records and have enjoyed an unexpected influx of fans following their performances.
1. ATLiens – EDC Las Vegas Virtual Rave-a-Thon (Insomniac Records)
ATLiens is a mysterious pair of dubstep and electro house artists from Atlanta, Georgia, who go to great lengths to conceal their identities. The duo stays anonymous by wearing chrome masks with glowing red eyes and remaining silent during interviews. Fortunately, despite EDC being cancelled due to COVID-19, ATLiens still had the chance to perform their set in front of hundreds of thousands of EDM fans around the world.
A music festival will traditionally have several artists playing at the same time, so while the duo was scheduled to perform, their fans would’ve likely been split between several different artists’ performances. But with so many EDM fans tuning into the livestream, ATLiens had the privilege of performing to an audience that was able to give them their undivided attention.
Most of ATLiens’ older music has racked up more than 1 million total streams on Spotify, but some of their more recent releases come in at just over 70,000 streams each as fans have the opportunity to listen to their new content. Their most popular song currently is titled “Contact” and has an eerie alien-like sound overall that may remind some listeners of the artist Space Jesus.
As new listeners dive deeper into ATLiens’ discography, they will quickly notice the severity of their music, especially apparent in songs like “Alchemy” and “Chimera.” Both of these pieces exhibit dark and dangerous tones, but “Chimera” stands out in particular due to the song’s low bass at the drop.
ATLiens was already a moderately established group, but participating in these livestreams has boosted their fan base significantly. Although it won’t ever be the same as the standard festival or concert, the livestreams have been helping these artists earn at least some sort of revenue and recognition.
2. Moore Kismet – Digital Mirage (Brownies and Lemonade)
Next up is Moore Kismet. They are a nonbinary pansexual artist, aged 15 years old, who has already garnered the support of big names like NGHTMRE, Elohim and San Holo. Kismet’s trap music shows a level of maturity that greatly surpasses their years and shows a completely new take on what trap could be.
Kismet blew away the viewers of the second Digital Mirage Online Music Festival with their fresh take on the genre. While their production stays true to the aggressive nature of trap, it also exhibits an experimental tone that excites their listeners. Digital Mirage exposed the world to Moore Kismet, and many fell in love, even if others were not so fond of their progressive music.
Currently, Kismet’s most popular song on Spotify is titled “Escape – VIP” and showcases their raw talent as an EDM artist. “Escape – VIP” is harsh, expressive and has a purely original tone that many artists may never achieve. It’s obvious that Kismet has dedicated a considerable amount of time and effort in crafting their sound.
Alongside “Escape – VIP” are tracks such as Kismet’s 2020 remix of PhaseOne’s “Crash & Burn” and their original song “TOKYO ~「東京」.” “Crash & Burn” has an even harsher tone than “Escape – VIP” and could be compared to the works of Slander or Sullivan King. “TOKYO ~「東京」” steers in the complete opposite direction of Kismet’s aforementioned songs. This piece is much calmer, which allows for even smaller complexities than the other two songs.
Moore Kismet is an impressive artist, exhibiting complexities in their music that many other musicians struggle to achieve. Considering their young age, Kismet has undeniable talent and enough potential to blow older artists out of the water.
3. Softest Hard – Digital Mirage (Brownies and Lemonade)
Finally, we have Softest Hard, a Vietnamese American model, producer and artist at Musical Freedom. At 320 Kbps, her genre of EDM falls under trap and electro house. She carefully blends together these two subgenres to create her distinct sound that many listeners in the EDM community have never been exposed to.
Softest Hard’s performance during the second Digital Mirage Online Music Festival left many reeling at her unique sound — and wondering why she has gained so little recognition. This livestreamed festival placed her on the EDM map and led her follower count on Spotify to slowly but surely rise.
At the moment, her most popular song on Spotify, “Have Mercy,” is currently pushing 118,000 streams. The song undeniably falls under the trap genre, although it would be incorrect to label it as her best performance.
Her two most recent releases are titled “Whatever You Want” and “Rave.” “Whatever You Want” is a perfect marriage of trap and electro house with beats reminiscent of certain compositions created by Black Tiger Sex Machine. “Rave” most definitely rings true to the electro house vibe with a more light and playful tone, although hints of trap still come through at certain points during the song.
Softest Hard still has a long way to go if she hopes to take the main stage someday, but she’s off to an absolutely stellar start.
Hopefully, these musicians will start to blow up in the music industry as they grow and mature artistically over the next few years. During these times, it’s important to celebrate artists’ diversity and their contributions to their communities just as we would celebrate their talent and work ethic.
Next time you tune in to a livestream, pay some special attention to these lesser-known artists. There are bound to be quite a few diamonds in the rough who deserve to feel appreciated just as mainstream artists do.