Electronic music has drastically evolved from the disco era in the 1970s. Once tied to underground clubs in Chicago and New York, the movement of electronic to Europe would be where the genre would move toward modern EDM and gain the traction to become mainstream.
With a multitude of sub-genres ranging from house to dubstep to hard dance, electronic music has shifted its strong geographical ties from East to West Coast, finding its home in Los Angeles. But what comes as a surprise is the recent emergence of electronic music following in the most central, southernmost state of Texas.
Despite Texas being the home of Austin, the “live music capital of the world,” few, if any, Texas electronic artists have reached superstar status. Instead, Texas flaunts popstar Beyoncé and country singer Willie Nelson, amongst many others.
However, a multitude of electronic-focused festivals occurs in the Lone Star State, including Lights All Night, Camp Nowhere, Something Wicked and U.M.E. just to name a few. This is in part due to the slew of colleges such as Texas Tech and Texas State that bring young adults, electronic music’s largest demographic, into the state.
Despite the number of large-scale festivals, few native-Texas electronic artists are featured on the line-ups. Instead, big-name artists, often based out of Europe or LA, are flown-in. Perhaps the underrepresentation of Texas natives is the reason Texas is not yet widely recognized for its expanding electronic scene.
A lack of representation certainly doesn’t mean Texas electronic artists don’t exist. They do, with artists in every subgenre from dubstep to electro-pop. Their invisibility certainly doesn’t mean Texas electronic artists aren’t good. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Here are six exceptional and up-and-coming Texas electronic artists.
1. GHOST DATA
GHOST DATA produces a range of electronic music, often with cinematic influences pulled from video game composers, as well as electronic artists such as Purity Ring and Porter Robinson.
He has dubbed the result “dreamsynth,” and, after listening to a few tracks, you’ll understand why. The Houston artist has a history of creating ethereal and experimental sounds, gaining him support from the electronic dance music icon Slushii during his BBC Radio 1 premiere.
GHOST DATA’s album “Void Walker,” released earlier this year, takes a turn away from the ethereal and explores quicker, darker beats. He ventures away from dreamy sounds and showcases a transition toward EDM with this more club-friendly album of progressive house.
Adrian Reed, or capshun, is a Dallas based producer and DJ. While his Spotify and Soundcloud release histories under this alias only go back to 2017, Reed has been producing music since 2011.
He got his start in producing by creating hip hop beats, and now produces an electronic sound called “future beats.” In addition to creating his own music, he also co-curates Bonsai Collective, a label and platform for rising artists.
Capshun’s tracks can best be described as the intersection of electronic and experimental, with a hint of his hip hop past. And the genre-bending result has been well-received.
Within only two years of his public debut as capshun, his 2018 track “Here” has scored him over 100,000 plays on Soundcloud and Spotify each. Since then, he has released over 10 tracks, including his latest single release, “Rising,” which was dropped last month.
3. Mr. Kitty
As an unproblematic alternative to Crystal Castles, dark synth-pop artist Mr. Kitty has made a name for himself far past the Austin music scene where he is based. The Texas electronic artist Mr. Kitty, aka Forrest LeMaire, has performed his “self-destructive synth pop” across the continent, going as far north as Vancouver and as far south as Mexico City.
His 2019 album, “Ephemeral,” released in May, mixes minimal 80s-esque sounds with vocals that could have been pulled from early 2000s emo. This album is a must-listen for fans of Boy Harsher and Public Memory.
Young trio Luke, Michael and Gavin make up electronic group WAVEDASH, with their heavy bass sounds best compared to Skrillex or Knife Party. Over the past three years, their magnetic dubstep tracks have drawn them a large following on Instagram and Soundcloud, where they have nearly 30,000 followers.
More than just producing a subgenre of electronic that is difficult to find in the Lone Star State, WAVEDASH has stood out to become one of the most popular electronic groups in the state due to their ability to produce hard music at the same caliber as much older producers.
While still based in Austin, they’ve already scored positions on major lineups including performances at Electric Daisy Carnival, Electric Forest, and Lollapalooza later this year.
Remix genius Madhatter! is a multi-genre electronic artist and self-dubbed “bass producer.” His trippy tracks have gained him popularity as a Texas electronic artist, scoring performances at Lights All Night, U.M.E. and, most recently, Illfest, where he performed at the “Texas Bangerz” stage along with capshun and GHOST DATA.
While the San Marcos-based producer has released several original tracks, he has gained the most attention for his remixes, in particular, his award-winning remix of Dillon Frances’ “Say Less.”
SWAN is an electro-pop duo composed of Lubbock-raised producer Ryan Scott, formerly known as Swanbeats, and Texas-born singer/songwriter Evolsi. Before joining forces, Swanbeats produced chillstep and EDM tracks, while Evolsi was an R&B and pop singer.
In 2016, SAWN released their first track. Shortly after the band moved out of Texas to work out of LA, where they began producing tracks using only their laptops. Their diverse musical backgrounds come together to create laidback dance tracks for summer playlists and fans of Louis the Child.
Their newest song is set to be released Friday, June 28.