After a tremendous rise in the popularity in trance music in 2016, this year is poised for yet another breakout. Trance music’s rich history helped fuel its resurgence from all angles including ‘classics-only’ sets from artists like Gabriel & Dresden, mainstream appropriation of psy-trance (e.g., Vini Vici – Free Tibet), and everything in between. Trance remains in the global spotlight as seen by the multitude of major festivals including Luminosity, Dreamstate, Ozora, A State of Trance festivals, Atlantis, and Transmission.
While there are so many excellent trance artists who made tremendous strides in 2016, I’ve gone through the painstaking task of selecting just a few of the ones I think you should watch for in 2017. Check them out and let us hear your thoughts at in the comments.
(Stream the entire playlist at the bottom of this post.)
Trance lovers are already likely familiar with this half of the now-defunct duo Allen & Envy. Steve Allen recently announced at the end of 2016 that he is pursuing a solo career and is poised for a monster year. His 2016 included a major worldwide tour including the US, Australia, and across Europe, three tracks released by major labels, and constant ASOT support and from Aly & Fila, Paul van Dyk, and Ferry Corsten. He was also nominated as one of the top 20 best selling trance artists on Beatport.
Steve has big plans for 2017 including releases on Raz Nitzan, AVA White, and Universal Nation. He also has a new radio show, Metamorphasis, on di.fm on the first Friday of every month. Keep an eye on him for another blockbuster year.
Many artists’ sound evolves over time, but possibly none more so than MaRLo. His now-signature tech energy style continued in 2016 including revealing the “evil” side of his productions in Darkside. He also released a huge hit with “You and Me” with Chloe singing vocals both on the recording and live during many of his shows. MaRLo and his wife, the lovely and talented vocalist Jano, are expecting their first child but don’t expect a slowdown for MaRLo – he promises to continue his trajectory in the coming year with more exciting releases.
Talla 2XLC is anything but a new name to the trance scene. He’s been around for over 30 years but shows no sign of slowing down, posting up eight top 10 tracks on Beatport in 2016. His uplifting style has been welcomed by many during the latest resurgence of 138+ BPM tracks. One of his most notable releases in 2016 was his uplifting rework of Alan Walker – Faded, one of the hit festival tracks of the year. He continues to put out quality releases on his Tetsuo label and maintains a residency at MTW Club in Offenbach, Germany. Expect some more great originals and remixes from Talla in 2017.
Dutch producer Allen Watts has quickly risen up the ranks of the world’s DJ elite. He started producing in 2009 and landed his first release in 2012 on Black Hole Recordings and never looked back since. He’s remixed for Armin van Buuren, appeared on numerous compilations, and joined Aly & Fila at FSOE 350 in Poland. 2016 has been a breakout year with six releases signed to Who’s Afraid of 138?! and many more. 2017 looks to be no different with more monster tracks planned for release. Allen has multiple tour dates planned in Europe including a spot at Luminosity Beach Festival in June.
Like many other successful trance artists before him, Alan Morris thanks his classical music training as a major source of his inspiration. Alan started producing in 2001 and while he has had a tremendous number of releases to date, 2016 was another huge year with 18 releases including six reaching the top 10 Trance releases on Beatport. His releases included several hits on Flashover Recordings, FSOE, Amsterdam Trance, and more. He also welcomed his first son, Jamie, last year.
Alan shows no sign of slowing down in 2017 including many more release planned on major labels including FSOE and ASOT. Alan has an international tour (including a trip to China in January 2017) starting soon. Be sure to catch him at Luminosity Beach Festival in June in the Netherlands.
Hailing out of Detroit, this DJ/Producer/Label Owner understands and appreciates emotional, melodic music and how to translate our deepest feelings into tracks and sets that stay imprinted on our hearts. With Top 10 Beatport hits that cemented his name in the industry such as “Ghost In The Machine” and “The Orange Room”, Kenneth continues to bring us a variety of musical goose bumps with recent releases like “Grace Alene”, “All Shades of Sky” for Cosmic Gates‘ Wake Your Mind label and “Heart On Fire” on Paul Oakenfold‘s Perfecto Records. When not working on originals, while also keeping an ear out for musical masterpieces to put out on his own imprint IAMPHOENIX.
“2016 saw a continuing intentional shift back to my melodic progressive trance roots. Some of my best records ever came out last year with constant support from Markus Schulz on Global DJ Broadcast and Paul Oakenfold on his monthly DJ Box compilations.”
2016 highlights: All Shades of Sky collab with Aura Wolfe released on Cosmic Gates Wake Your Mind and featured on their Wake Your Mind Vol2 compilation. “Grace Alene” garnered massive attention both from the industry and in live play.
“2017 will continue with a slew of great records right out of the gate on my own IAMPHOENIX label. February sees the release of “This Empire” which was already radio supported by Kyau & Albert, the vocal anthem “The Force” as well as the Anjuna inspired “Breeze”.
The Sound on Fire bi-weekly live video podcast continues and grows every week as well.”
Dave Neven‘s meteoric rise over the past two years is that which only a few are fortunate enough to accomplish. From his recent signing to the Schulz Music Group to his one-year-old radio show Digital Noise Radio, Dave is proving himself to be a rising star. His productions, including his hit original “Counter Strike”, consistently receive global support from the likes of Markus Schulz, Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Ben Gold, Bobina, and more. Some of his discography includes Markus Schulz – “Raio” (Dave Neven Remix), Rank 1 – “Airwave” (Dave Neven Bootleg Remix), and most recently Mike EFEX – “Blackstone” (Dave Neven Remix), out now on Coldharbour Recordings.
In 2017 he looks to continue his progress with a three track EP coming out in January, a new original in March, and a music video. Look for more from Dave soon.
If you have attended a trance show in Chicago, you’ve probably heard of Peter Kontor. Peter is a regular performer at Spring Awakening Music Festival and many Chicago area clubs. He was nominated as one of Chicago’s Best Producers (Remixers) in 2016 and a winner of numerous remix competitions including Markus Schulz, 7 Skies, and more. Peter continues his rise in 2017 with a supporting set for Markus Schulz on the Groove Cruise in January 2017, Trance Arena in February 2017, and more. Look for more releases soon from him.
American producer Adrian Armendariz, under the moniker Adrian Alexander, made his debut in 2014 with his first single on Adrenalin Room, “Ghost That Haunts Me”. Since then, Adrian has seen enormous success within the industry, earning his first A State Of Trance support only 5 months later. Now the forefront artist of Elliptical Sun Recordings, Adrian earns consistent A-list support from the likes of Above & Beyond, Armin van Buuren, Aruna, Tom Fall, and many more. Tracks such as ‘Turnaround’, ‘Stratosphere’ and ‘Prove Me Right’ are evidence that Adrian is set to have a breakthrough year in 2017.
Adrian’s work is making a splash with a number of major labels. 2016 was a solid year with four originals and two remixes on Elliptical Sun Recordings, all of which found their way to radio support, including half a dozen ABGT inclusions and an ASOT support as well. Adrian said, “Collaborating with my friends Emerge and Skylane were highlights for sure – I’m a big fan of their work, and making music with friends is always a fun process”. His work was also featured to mix the End of Year Compilation for Elliptical Sun Recordings.
2017 is looking to be another big year with three tracks already signed and ready for release, including one he will be giving out free when he reaches 1,000 Facebook likes. The other two are slated for release. Look for him back in Chicago behind the decks again soon.
An up and comer in the Chicago scene but no stranger to electronic music, OZMTZ moved back to his hometown of Chicago in the middle of 2015 to challenge himself further. Jeff first started his music career as a classically-trained pianist and saxophonist which shines through in all of his productions. Like many producers, Jeff is a product of some of the great trance artists in the last 1990’s, noting influences from Paul Oakenfold and Paul van Dyk.
Since his return he has had several appearances at The MID Chicago playing alongside Cosmic Gate and TyDi. In 2016 he also signed two separate contracts with solid labels including Elliptical Sun Recordings. 2017 is already shaping up to be a big year with two releases in the first quarter including a three-track EP on Nueva Recordings alongside longtime friend Mihai Sebastian from LA and the “Whiplash” EP coming out around March 2017. His next release is a remix coming out on Elliptical Sun Recordings.
Jeff remarked, “This release actually holds great significance to me. When I first began producing about 3 years ago I set all these little goals. ESR was actually one of my short term goals to achieve. Not going to lie, it feels great. To me it marks the beginning of something special. I hope to build off the release and continue to pump out some quality progressive trance tunes.”
STREAM THE FULL PLAYLIST:
Article by: Aaron Davidson (Airborne) – Business leader by day, music creator by night. Airborne’s classical music training mixed with 90’s trance is clearly visible in his trance, progressive, and techno creations. ‘Like’ him on Facebook.