Once a year we reach out to some of Chicago’s top dance music producers and ask them to choose and discuss their favorite tracks from the previous year.

We also asked them to look ahead and discuss some things they are excited about in 2019.

This year’s artists represent a wide range of genres and a very impressive list of accomplishments, with releases on the world’s biggest record labels and performances at internationally-known venues and festivals.  They represent some of the best talent the Windy City has to offer.

From all of us here at TSAS, we wish you and yours a happy new year!

Curated by: Xonic

chicago artists 2019 Alex Kislov
Alex Kislov

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018:  Franky Ricardo – Revoke

TOP MEMORIES: “Headlining a show in Moscow, Russia, and closing out after hours sets to thousands of people on an official RV soundstage at Electric Forest.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “I’m looking forward to having some time to finish my album. A few songs are finished, I’ll be writing the rest this year, and I’m planning for a 2020 release.”

chicago artists 2019 Ayoo

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018: Wood & Melon – Bad Jokes

“We love playing this one out at our shows. It instantly turns the dance floor into a house party!”

TOP MEMORIES: “Some of our favorite times include opening for Malaa at Concord Music Hall, supporting AC Slater, Volac, and the Phlegmatic Dogs at Park West, and playing on the DJ Mag stage at Spring Awakening Music Festival.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “We’re excited to release more music, collaborate with more artists, and eventually release music on a respected label. We might have an EP in the works. We have four tracks done and three more in progress on the way for 2019, a mix of originals and collabs.”

chicago artists 2019 Bentley Dean

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018: No Mana – Other Side (feat. Colleen D’Agostino)

“This track had me hooked before I even listened just because of the two artists involved. No Mana is consistently releasing great tracks and Colleen D’agostino laid down some of my favorite vocals on Deadmau5‘ track ‘Stay’. My high expectations of this track were validated; the track is heavy, the vocals are amazing, and then there’s that breakdown at 2 minutes. That breakdown sounds like a metal-electro combo and those are my two favorite genres of music.”

TOP MEMORIES: “My North Coast Music Festival set with Steve Gerard. I stepped way outside my comfort zone and performed a live set with some synth work. It was the first time I’ve done something like that and it will not be the last, it was by far my favorite performance.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “The year is starting off pretty well with my next release on mau5trap’s We Are Friends. Other than that, I’m excited to share my debut EP, which currently has a few original tracks; one of them has vocals done by Tori Letzler and also a collaboration with my friend over on Dirtybird, CHAY.”

chicago artists 2019 Birthdayy Partyy
Birthdayy Partyy

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018:  Matroda & RICCI – Caliente (Na Na Na)

“This track is a perfect example of a blend of dirty bass, a groovy house vibe all tied together with an anthemic festival hook. Great track to start a Partyy with.”

TOP MEMORIES: “Winning the Corona Electric Beach competition to perform at EDC Las Vegas. It was a huge step for us because that was our very first set as Birthdayy Partyy, and we really couldn’t have had a better way to kick off the new project.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “We’re looking forward to collabing with some artists that we’ve looked up to for a long time (including one with Born I Music) as well as playing our first Chicago headlining show.”

chicago artists 2019 BLU 9

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018:  Anna V & M.I.T.A. – The God Particle

“That track is amazing and created by 2 friends that came together to create that massive track. So proud of them!”

TOP MEMORIES: “Earlier this year, I was given the Model 1 mixer.  I wrote a letter to get it and it came, under the recommendation of other DJs that have performed on it.  I am happy that I am able to provide this mixer to artists coming to Chicago and it has enhanced the way I play. It has provided a way for me to not only play differently, but it has improved my approach and performances as well as my productions.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “Releasing more music, traveling to different cities to play with the model 1, and the continued opportunity to inject underground dance music to new ears so we keep growing as a community.”

chicago artists 2019 DOGMA

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018:  Barely Alive – Odyssey

“The tune itself is my favorite single work, but mainly, the body of work in the entirety of this album continues to blow me away every time I listen to it. From the heaviest current style of dubstep in “Shutdown,” to boundary pushing 80’s inspired synth work in “War of the Worlds,” just represents a kind of artistic versatility I aspire to have even half of someday.”

TOP MEMORIES: “Pushing my own production ability to new levels. Seeing my music being played out by artists that I look up and respect immensely is something that I will never tire of. My appreciation for the fans that come out to see and support a small artist like me is absolutely never ending. Pursuing this dream really wouldn’t be possible without them.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “I’m looking forward to finishing and releasing my first EP. I’m halfway done with the project now, and cannot wait to finally debut something that shows off a broader range of style under a really cool central theme.”

chicago artists 2019 ELEVATD

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018: Badrapper & JACKNIFE – Creepin

“We loved this track so much that we made an awesome edit with Daddy Yankee’s Gasolina, and it SMACKS, B!”

TOP MEMORIES: “Playing the main stage at Spring Awakening Music Festival, playing 515 Alive, closing out the Mid after RL Grime, playing at the Rave with Boombox Cartel on Halloween, the Deadbeats after party with Zeds Dead at Concord, and the Hype or Die Tour with Riot Ten.“

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “We have a new song dropping on January 11th with our boy SNOOF on Super 7 Records called “This Will Never End.” It’s Jayceeoh’s label, so we are super excited about that! We have tons of new music to release this year, a few collabs and maybe an EP or two.”

chicago artists 2019 HIROKO YAMAMURA

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018:  Giant Swan – The Plaque

“2018 was a year of absolutely heaters, but I have to throw my vote for favorite tune to this track. A mega-ton of beatport micro genres popped up this year, confusing audiences, all while giving artists a few more ways to define themselves. This track pretty much goes down the checklist of “left field”, but don’t let that stop you. The song slaps. It’s just got such a nastiness to it, and a crackly aesthetic that always hypes the shit out of me. Total fucking unit.”

TOP MEMORIES: “This year was a big one for me, finishing music with artists I’ve never even dreamed would be interested in collaboration, and finally moving to an agency that is lined up with the same ideals as me. I’d have to say my absolute highlight amongst some top shows was getting to play back to back alongside my favorite fucking dj in the world, Seth Troxler at Amnesia Ibiza this year. Incredible vibe, huge sound system and intimidating crowd.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “I’m really looking forward go finishing some music I’ve been dragging ass on. I’m really honored to be working with some amazing artists that I don’t even have the right to be in the same sentence with. In 2019, look for upcoming collabs with Justin Cudmore, Junior Sanchez, Submerge, Marc Houle, Heartthob, Matt Tolfrey and other amazing folks. Also, really looking forward to hanging out with you.”

chicago artists 2019 HRZSOGOOD

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018:  Tobi Lou – Buff Baby

“We both love how Tobi Lou (a fellow Chicagoan) is just having fun with it, and keeps this really positive vibe similar to how we approach our signature sound.”

TOP MEMORIES: “Winning the Insomniac Discovery Project for our original music, performing at Electric Forest, and already being asked back there for 2019. Also performing for three hours with Snakehips!”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “We have this 4 song original material EP we are finishing up, and Electric Forest 2019 will for sure be a trip we can’t wait to make again. We can’t really go into further detail on other cool things happening, but trust us, 2019 will see a lot more HrzSoGood.”

chicago artists 2019 JOHN SUMMIT

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018: Jamie Jones & David Berrie – Doctor Zouk

“Always an impossible question to answer for me, but I haven’t stopped dancing to this since I’ve heard it. The track has it all: groovy drums, catchy tribal vocals, funky bassline, and even a bit of acid!”

TOP MEMORIES: “Releasing my first 3 EP’s. I really hit my stride in the studio this year, and I am really proud of all the work I put out. I have full confidence in my sound now, and I am so happy from all the support I’ve received on my music.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019:  “I’m heading into 2019 with a few EPs lined up, along with lots unreleased tracks I’ve yet to send out. I’m excited to start the year off performing at Spybar on January 11th, and I also plan on traveling around much more, and playing in as many cities as possible. I spent a little too much time in the studio this past year so I can’t wait to play out my music and meet lots of new people.”

chicago artists 2019 OZMTZ
Jeff Ozmits

Jeff Ozmits
FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018: Myon & Late Night Alumni – Hearts & Silence (Myon Club Mix)

“The raw emotion of the vocals tied in with the chord progression literally gives me the chillsevery time I listen. An absolutely outstanding track.”

TOP MEMORIES: “Networking at ADE, my first festival appearance at Decadence in Denver on NYE, my collaboration with EMATA hit #1 on the trance release charts, my release with Chicago’s RJ Pickens hit #1 on the progressive house charts, and I can’t forget the Elliptical Sun Music Showcase here in Chicago on the Summer of George, followed by the afterparty at Sound-Bar with the gentlemen at Trance Identity.

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “A lot of amazing things to unveil in 2019. I can’t yet announce some of the details, but I am expecting a lot from myself and my team moving forward. There will be loads of new music and some big surprises to come.

chicago artists 2019 RANDALL DEAN

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018: Superlover – Candy

“I’ve always been a huge fan of house music featuring throwback elements of disco, funk and soul. Every time I hear this joint it makes me want to drop what I’m doing and boogie. I can think of no more noble goal than that when producing dance music, and I often use this song as a litmus test for any original music I’m working on.”

TOP MEMORIES:Spring Awakening was definitely the year’s highlight for me. A few things stood out: The fact SAMF approached me to play is still one of the happiest moments of my life. At the festival, even though I played mid-day on the last day, every single set of headphones was in use and there was a line around the disco waiting to get in. That was a feeling I could have only ever dreamt of.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “I’m going to rededicate myself to the studio stepping up the number of hours I put in daily. I have so many unfinished projects right now and so many exciting collaborations in the hopper, it’s time to take things to the next stage in my growth. From a performance aspect, I plan to start incorporating more live elements into my shows.”

chicago artists 2019 STEVE GERARD

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018: Architects – Doomsday

“Not just this track, but overall, this is probably the best all around album i have heard in a long time. Everything from the musicality, to the mixdown and master, to it being the first album they did since their original guitarist and principal writer died of cancer in 2016. Their new guitarist has done an unreal job of picking up where they left off, with literally the quintessential rock performance that, in my opinion, hasn’t been seen or heard in over a decade.

TOP MEMORIES: “Really enjoyed playing with Bentley Dean at North Coast Music Festival this year. He’s one of the most talented people in this city, and a next level producer. It’s rare to find someone you can do a live hybrid DJ set with, and utilize a modular rig along with a Moog and midi controller, and be comfortable enough with one another – especially in a festival setting without planning shit in advance. That was also our first time playing as a unit, and it was just a blast all around.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “Writing more music with friends, and enjoying my 7th year as a resident at Sound-Bar.  Not even just club music, but across all spectrums. Chicago has a problem with everyone being too genre-focused and worrying about their branding as a DJ, but then have a tendency to put out music that sounds like every other artist in whatever genre they’re focused on. I really want to also perform a live show in Dolby ATMOS by year’s end, and continue to carve out a space I can call my own, artistically-speaking.”

chicago artists 2019 STONEY MONTANA


“I feel like this track was one of the heavy hitters of 2018. It’s really a great track to get the crowd hype, most def!”

TOP MEMORIES: “Playing Beta Nightclub (Denver) and the Mid one last time before they both closed their doors, sadly. Those were two iconic clubs for dance music!”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “What I’m looking forward to in 2019 is releasing more music and possibly landing a big label release!”

chicago artists 2019 TOMBZ

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018: Proper Villains – Gotta Keep On

“We’ve been a huge fan of damn near all of Proper Villains tunes over the last year, but this one takes the cake. It can groove in any low set situation but somehow turns into an absolute slammer if played mid-set to the right crowd. One of our all time favorites to play out!”

TOP MEMORIES: “Releasing our first Night Bass EP and subsequently playing our first Night Bass event out in LA was definitely a huge highlight. We also did several nationwide tour dates with 219 Boys, Grensta, Kendoll, and Wood Holly that were all a blast.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “We are very excited to get these next handful of tunes released (and they’re on some pretty exciting labels) and get back to working on another EP!”

chicago artists 2019  TSUNAMI

FAVORITE TRACK OF 2018: Robosonic, Ferreck Dawn – In Arms

“I typically like to dig a bit deeper than the Beatport charts for an overall favorite track, but there is a reason this track went #1 overall for a few weeks earlier in the year… It’s so damn good. Absolutely perfect house music.”

TOP MEMORIES: “From releasing original music on some awesome labels, sharing the stage with acts like Gorgon City, Claptone, MK and Roger Sanchez to name a few, as well as being fortunate enough to play countless awesome parties in Chicago and other cities, I would say 2018 has been nothing but fantastic.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019: “I’m excited to be releasing a lot of new original music”

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Kris Hi there! Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sights and Sounds. Been doing this music writing thing for most my life in one way or another and loving every opportunity it's brought along. Shoot me an email if you have any suggestions for the website, comments, or if you just want to chat. Cheers!