Rites of Spring Performers
Formed in the summer of 2015, DNCE first introduced themselves to audiences worldwide with the release of “Cake By The Ocean,” their now 3x certified platinum-selling breakout smash. Included on the group’s 2016 self-titled debut album [Republic Records], “Cake By The Ocean” entered the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became a hit at Top 40 radio, where it went on to become one of the most played songs of the year. An international success, global consumption of the song is over 7 million adjusted singles, including nearly 550 million streams on Spotify worldwide. What’s more, the companion music video has over 256 million views on VEVO.
Following up “Cake By The Ocean,” the sexy, gold-selling “Toothbrush” amassed over 68 million YouTube/VEVO views with an unforgettable music video starring supermodel Ashley Graham as well as achieving global consumption over 1 million. Moreover, it received widespread critical praise from the likes of Entertainment Weekly, People, and Rolling Stone. Their next release was for their sexy single “Body Moves” starring model Charlotte McKinney which has over 25 million views.
Cementing them as one of 2016’s breakout acts, the band took home the win for “Best PUSH Artist” at the 2016 MTV European Music Awardsand “Best New Artist” at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Recently, the band released their new single called “Kissing Strangers” featuring global superstar Nicki Minaj.
DNCE is frontman Joe Jonas, bassist & keyboardist Cole Whittle, guitarist JinJoo, and drummer Jack Lawless.
Cheat Codes isn’t just the musical union of Trevor Dahl, Matthew Russell, and Kevin Ford, it’s also a mantra. The members of the electronic dance music outfit may have arguably figured out the secret to life—or at least a way to jump right to the good part…
“The ‘Cheat Code to Life’ is being able to have fun, while skipping all of the hard stuff and any sorts of limitations,’” explains Matthew. “It’s our mission statement. The whole idea and vision for us was to start a project that was really entertaining and fun. We decided if we made simple quality songs, it would work out organically.”
“We all believe in the ‘Law of Attraction,’” Trevor elaborates. “If you focus only on what you want to do, you can bring it to life, leaping over all of the difficulties.”
That focus continues to yield incredible results for the Los Angeles-based trio. The three friends decided to start making music in 2014. Their first independent single, 2015’s “Adventure,” clinched #1 on Spotify’s Global Viral 50 and earned over 5 million-plus plays in a year. Shortly after, the boys hit the road with The Chainsmokers, Ansolo, and DallasK on a sold out U.S. tour, garnering support from the likes of Diplo, Like Mike & Dimitri Vegas, and more. Along the way, they received props and coverage from BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Indie Shuffle, EDM Sauce, and many others.
Everything set the stage for the explosion of their next smash “Sex” with Kriss Kross Amsterdam. Within two months of its release, the song vaulted to #10 on Spotify’s Global Charts, went Top 20 in 20 countries, and racked up 100 million-plus streams and 10-million YouTube views and counting.
Taking the hook from Salt-N-Pepa’s timeless nineties jam “Let’s Talk About Sex” and bumping and grinding it against a tropical-inspired house soundscape dripping with cheeky club energy, “Sex” immediately seduces anyone in earshot.
“We were just writing together one night,” recalls Trevor. “Matt started humming the chorus. Within an hour, we had the first verse. It was recorded at our home studio, and we just wanted to do our own thing. It felt right!”
“That’s the way it goes for everything,” adds Kevin. “When it came time to make a visual, we didn’t want to do something typical either. We wanted to shoot something funny and unique with the Sex Ed class.”
“Who knows if we’d ever get the chance to do that again,” grins Matthew.
Cheat Codes continue to prove their philosophy right, and “Sex” is just the beginning.
“At the end of the day, we just want to write good music,” concludes Trevor. “It can be crazy. It can be sad. It can be happy. It’s just got to reflect who we are.”
“When people hear us, I want them to feel like they can enjoy life and have a good time,” Matthew leaves off. “Life is meant to be easy. We’re proof. You can create whatever vision you have. It can be as crazy as, ‘I want to make songs about sex and turn it into a job!’ You can literally do anything.”
It’s been an incredible year and a half for H.E.R. In that time span and over two remarkable EPs, the enigmatic singer/songwriter has established herself as one of modern pop’s most fascinating new voices—an artist with a keen skill for channeling the pain and ecstasy of life through a variety of sonic moods. “I’ve learned a lot about myself, but it’s still surreal to me,” H.E.R. reflects when discussing her career trajectory. “I wrote these songs during a dark time, so selling out shows has blown my mind.”
And just a little over a year since the release of the breakthrough H.E.R. Volume 1—and four months since its intriguing follow-up H.E.R. Volume 2—H.E.R. has compiled both releases for the deluxe release H.E.R., featuring six new and previously unreleased songs. This is the definitive reflection of H.E.R.’s singular vision, and it makes for an excellent introduction to her work; and for those familiar and returning, the release offers a thrilling recontextualization of her impressive career thus far.
Volume 1 was created over the course of four years from 15-18 years old. “I always used to say that I’d never be the girl who fell for the wrong guy or ended up being in a lot of situations that most females end up in—bad relationships or whatever,” she says. “Growing up, though, I ended up being that girl—her. That’s why I named the project H.E.R.” With the help of Carolyn Williams at RCA, she put forth the project’s first volume of music under the veil of anonymity. “I realized that I needed to be super honest, and that’s how the music came out the way it did. I was forced to be honest and comfortable with myself and my vulnerabilities. I felt like I was alone in my situations, but when I dropped the project, I realized that a lot of women go through what I went through.
Volume 2 came together soon afterwards, comprised of songs written both previously to and after the release of Volume 1. “Volume 1 was very dark, but Volume 2 is a little brighter,” H.E.R. specifies on the differences between the projects, further emphasizing that H.E.R.‘s new songs came about during the recording sessions for Volume 2. “I didn’t feel like they necessarily matched with the vibe—it was another mood,” she explains. “Some of them I wrote in London, and I thought they were a little different than the rest—but they were very good, expressive songs, so I wanted to drop them separately.”
And the new songs on H.E.R. indeed expand H.E.R.’s sonic and emotional palette, while staying true to the intimacy that’s already garnered so much adoration and acclaim. There’s the dusky and acoustic-tinged Daniel Caesar duet “Best Part,” the moody crawl of “Free,” and “Let Me In,” a woozy slice of R&B with pleasing vocal samples buried in the mix, below H.E.R.’s own expressive voice.
“I felt very free to do a funky, groovy, cookout-music type vibe,” H.E.R. enthuses when discussing “Let Me In.” “It shows the musical, old-school-influenced side of me. It’s about
how some people can be very guarded and closed off in relationships, and how you have to reassure them that you just want them to feel safe and protect their heart—not hurt them. Some people just close their mind, and you wonder, ‘Is it someone else? Is it me?’ But they’re scared to love. So the song’s about me asking this guy to let me in.” The anxious, Timbaland-esque melodic storm of “2” explores different subject matter, as well: “It’s a revenge song,” she says with a laugh. “The song is really dark, a different perspective that people don’t really talk about—the idea that instead of crying over somebody that you found out was cheating on you, you ended up cheating back.”
Paired with the time-tested cuts of her previous releases, the new songs on H.E.R. offer a tantalizing look at what’s to come from H.E.R. while giving a window into an artist’s exploratory creative process. “Musically, I have to stay true to myself,” she states when looking toward the future. “It’s easy to get attention and make music to please an audience instead of being honest. The real stuff is what people really want, though—the raw stuff. My sound is starting to shift, and I haven’t been afraid to try new things because the people that love the music have bought into me and who I am. I have the freedom to do whatever I want musically, and I’m super grateful for that. If you’re always true to yourself, they’re gonna love it.”
Where the intersections of the DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia) collide, 23 year old GoldLink is a direct product. With his debut studio album releasing in March 2017, At What Cost (Squaaash Club/RCA), he’s done just that. By merging the sensibilities of go-go with the African diaspora, he’s done what hip-hop has done from its inception: repurpose what’s available into something magical.
At What Cost has received critical acclaim with the lead single “Crew” ft. Brent Faiyaz and Shy Glizzy charting on the Spotify Viral 50 chart. They performed the song for the first time together when GoldLink performed at Coachella in April 2017.
Born Animal is an eclectic, blues-tinged indie rock band, based in Music City, USA. The brainchild of Ryan Stowe and Stephen Luther, the two native-Texans who relocated to Nashville and fell in with Sean Rosettie and Evan Miranda. The group hit their stride immediately, wowing audiences with electric live shows and passionate songwriting. Their music defies any one genre and is filled with dynamic energy, stick-in-your-head melodies, and lyricism that questions the complex relationships between individuals and the world we reside in.
The four-piece began playing live in early 2016 and have since transitioned to a regional touring act. They’ve performed at high-profile Nashville venues like Exit/In, the High-Watt, and The End, and also opened for Har Mar Superstar and American Aquarium.
Their first release, The Wild (EP), was produced by Lincoln Parish (from Cage the Elephant) with Carey Ott and was released in February 2016 via United We Jam Records. Born Animal’s sophomore release Celebration Revolution is set for December 1st. The lead single I Think I Think Too Much was premiered via Pancakes & Whiskey on October 31st.
“Fresh, curious energy… inspiring” – Lincoln Parish
“Rife with catchy guitar licks and has that foot-tapping ability that is hard to find these days” – Pancakes and Whiskey