The WAV Awards: Favorite Artists of 2022

When we reflect on 2022, many of us found ourselves celebrating, vibing out, and healing to music from our favorite artists. From January to December, many established artists and rising stars solidified their place in the music world. Here are a few who made a big impact.

Alix Perez

In much of the underground music world, Belgian-born and New Zealand-based producer, Alix Perez, is likely to be your favorite producer’s favorite producer. When turning on an Alix Perez record, you may discover soothing liquid drum and bass goodness or crisp 140 dubstep. Or you may find something entirely different. His diverse catalog and consistent boundary-pushing tendencies mean that his music has something to offer for all lovers of expansive, rolling basslines.

Alix Perez’s satisfying percussion, striking versatility, and leading-edge audio design are highlighted in his 2022 releases, including “Shallow Affect” and “Not Alone” from the Atlas / 2 compilation, as well as the Under Pressure and Wairua EPs. SHADES, his side project with the equally influential EPROM, produced two massively successful releases in 2022: The From a Vein album, released in August of this year, the Immortals EP, and singles such as “Dark Wing.”

Performing alongside G Jones at Mission Ballroom, the first live SHADES show in two years back in April garnered universal praise, while massive solo shows at Infrasound Music Festival, EDC Las Vegas, The Untz, and many cities in between across North America introduced many U.S. fans to Alix Perez and his signature sound.

Much of his focus in the last half-decade (and especially in 2022) has honed in on the expansion of his label, 1985 Music, which he founded in 2016. Featuring releases from talented producers such as Monty, Visages, Tsuruda, Drone, Cesco, the 1985 Music imprint represents a selection of progressive audio design that will continue to inspire the zeitgeist of current electronic music era for years to come.

—Shaina Sklar

Daily Bread

Photo by Franz Hilberath

Looking back on 2022 it has been quite an extraordinary year for electronic music production. The year in review would not be complete without turning a fixed gaze to the artist and producer named Rhett Whatley, better known as Daily Bread

Whatley’s music has a unique and personalized tone, incorporating melodies reminiscent of his southern roots or a nostalgic throwback showcasing his heavy hip-hop influences. Pulling samples and mixes from his massive vinyl collection, he crafts a quintessential mix of classic old-school beats, the upbeat rhythms of funk and jazz, and heavy experimental bass. 

Upon the release of his double LP, On the Daily with Philos Records, Daily Bread began sharing the stage with influential artists like Pretty Lights, The Floozies, and STS9. Among an impressive series of festival lineups in 2022, Daily Bread held notable performances at Gem and Jam, Sonic Bloom, The Caverns, and two nights at The Mishawaka Amphitheatre. 

Closing out the year, Daily Bread recently released the five-track ATL.A. EP in collaboration with rapper and hip hop artist, Murs, mixing stylized hip hop and Daily Bread’s iconic soulful, electronic beats. 

With more music and live performances to come, Daily Bread will be playing at Radiance NYE, Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre with Mersiv

—Valerie Yoder

Fred again..

Photo Credit: Jack Bridgland

A push pad wizard, producer, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and DJ, Fred Gibson, better known as Fred again.., is pioneering the dance industry with his honorable talent. In July 2022, his Boiler Room in London set was released, which brought the artist a massive wave of attention and popularity. As well as his track with Swedish House Mafia called “Turn on the Lights Again…” this past year also marked a pivotal time for him.

Becoming a prominent name in the scene didn’t just happen this past summer for Fred Gibson. Being a jack of all trades throughout his musical journey has led the producer to work with some of the most renowned artists across the globe such as Skrillex, Ed Sheeran, Halsey, Eminem, Stormzy, FKA Twigs, and more. Writing and producing songs that consecutively hit No. 1 in the charts for Ed Sheeran back in 2019 was another major milestone for the Fred again.. project. It doesn’t stop there. Gibson also became the youngest producer to win Producer of the Year at the British Awards in 2020.

Besides being a musical genius and master of his craft, Gibson is also a content creator who has used social media to enlighten people about how difficult it can be to put out beats and sew them together. As the pandemic was raging, his Actual Life series gave humans what they longed for through his music: unity.

It is Fred again.. who continues to evolve in the music scene and moves the crowd with his brilliance.

—Michela Iosipov

John Summit

What hasn’t John Summit done at this point?

Following up 2021, a year when he was the top-selling artist on Beatport and owned the No.1 track on U.S. Dance radio (“Human”), Summit exploded into international stardom behind relentless tour schedules and marquee performances at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Tomorrowland, Bonnaroo, Parklife, and more. He’s been heralded by artists and outlets alike as not only one of the most fun and exciting dance acts of today, but a consummate producer who truly loves his craft.

At every turn, Summit has upped the ante of his acclaim and notoriety, highlighted by performing not once, but twice with sky-rocketing bass act Subtronics for viral back-to-back sets at Electric Forest and Lost Land.

In May, he launched his new label and event brand, Off The Grid, which promises to further the brand he’s established to an international listening and attending audience.

The aforementioned question ‘What hasn’t John Summit done?’ is truly polarizing when you begin to think he’s only just begun as a headliner and label head. While 2022 was his biggest year, expect even greater things from the Producer/DJ in 2023 — including a debut headline at Red Rocks in May.

—Franz Hilberath

LSDream

Photo Credit: Nicole Davis

If you’ve ever wanted to take a hippy bus ride through space, look no further than LSDREAM. No artist has elevated humanity’s collective vibrations quite like LSDREAM has. For years, he has wowed fans with his signature cosmic electro-funk sound.

In 2022, however, LSDREAM’s contributions to the EDM community (and the entire North American music festival scene) went far beyond music. He blessed us with LIGHTCODE, a meditation and sound bath experience. He has also brought together a community of music lovers (LSDREAMers) who share his grand vision of “Peace Love & Wubz.”

LSDREAM gave some of the best performances of the year, leaving fans mindblown at Lightning in a Bottle, Electric Forest, Lost Lands, and Wakaan Festival. He kept us dancing through the spring and summer with colossal collaborations like “Take A Trip” (with Liquid Stranger), “BLASTA” (with INZO), and “FUNKONAUT” (with GRiZ). And of course, who could forget “Badman,” his now-iconic collab with Ganja White Night that drew us deeper into the fabulous universe of Mr. Wobble and Mushi Mushi?

Despite the year coming to a close, LSDREAM is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s already confirmed to play Gem & Jam and Okeechobee in 2023. Wherever else he ends up, we’re excited to tag along for the ride!

—Ashley Eady

Lyny

Photo Credit: LYNY

If you attended an electronic music festival in 2022, we guarantee you’ve heard LYNY’s slamming banger, “Noxious,” at one point or another. 

An up-and-coming Chicago-based producer with some seriously impressive industry co-signs from heavy hitters like Of The Trees, EAZYBAKED, Sumthin Sumthin, and countless others, LYNY’s intoxicating take on experimental bass music meets incredible catchy progressions that take a relentless hold on your psyche and refuse to let go. Listening to his music is like getting the hiccups — there’s no escape. Except LYNY’s music is pleasant and painless (thank God).

We may not have the numbers to back this up, but we’ll go ahead and say “Noxious” was likely the most played track across the bass festival scene this year. Let’s take this year’s WAKAAN Festival, for example. By the end of the festival, “Noxious” was played so many times, by so many artists, that it almost seemed like a requirement. Even GRiZ remixed the track for his 2nd annual Another World event in Denver this past Halloween.

Even better, LYNY is just getting started and he seems to be doing everything right. He’s released his own beat pack. He’s befriended successful mentors like Of The Trees, and he even signed with United Talent Agency earlier this year. The best part? He’s only 21 years old. Time will only show the heights his talent will reach in the next decade.

—Logan Sasser

Moore Kismet

Photo Credit: Brandon Densley

In a world where being different in any way can cause you to stand out, Moore Kismet, better known as Omar Davis, has shown the world that living life to the fullest and embracing yourself is the key to self-love and acceptance. 

Being an artist in the music scene is hard enough already, not to mention being an artist as young as Davis. At 16, they set records to be the youngest person to perform at major festivals such as EDC Las Vegas and Lollapalooza as well as Red Rocks Amphitheater. On top of that, they have been recognized on Billboard’s, “21 Artists Under 21” for the last three years. 

This year, Davis announced their debut headline tour, “Universe: A Live Experience” with support acts Pauline Herr and Tsu Nami. The massive tour consists of 38 stops all over the world from Tampa, Florida to Paris, France. Already, fans have been blown away by performances all year on this tour, and with many notable festival attendances, Moore Kismet seems to continue their rise to the top of the electronic music community. This year alone, they have played major festivals such as Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Tomorrowland, Lollapalooza Paris, Electric Zoo, and more. 

Moore Kismet continues to showcase their talent to fans far and wide. Even after an unbelievable year, this is just the beginning of something great. The MP3 MAG team can’t wait to see what the future holds for the amazing artist in 2023! 

—Ashley Kelaita

Night Tales

They say “slow and steady wins the race” and Australian electronic duo Night Tales are living proof. The LA-based artists began the project around 10 years ago, but 2022 proved to be one of their top years yet. 

The two producers, UK-born Aaron Bannie and Aussie native Kamaliza Salamba, have strived and succeeded at weaving extremely catchy synths and beats, along with honest and personal lyrics that capture both dance music and the human connection. 

Throughout the year, the duo gifted fans with singles to tease their debut album, starting with the single “Thinking About You” in April, and following suit in May with “Take It Slow”, and even their own take and tribute to The Cure’s “Lovesong” which was approved by Cure frontman, Robert Smith, himself. 

They blew up the stages at Breakaway Festival, Electric Forest, and even Pal Norte festival in Monterrey, Mexico, along with their own dates in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and more. Night Tales finally released their debut album, Proof, in October via Ultra Records. 

Night Tales are not only releasing hit after hit, but they’re also bringing soul and diversity to alternative electronica, with the mission of diversifying the genre and representing people of color for more visibility, acceptance, and accessibility.

If Night Tales pulled all this off in 2022, we can’t wait for what’s in store for them and their listeners in 2023. 

—Daniela Toporek

QRTR

Photo Credit: Bren Haragan

If you’re looking for a musician so familiar and unafraid of breaching into uncharted territory with finesse, who doubles as a film composer, music supervisor, and music editor, who leads a positive dance music channel for women and members of the LGBT community, and who has a great sense of humor, you should listen to QRTR.

QRTR, or Meagan Rodriguez, is a Brooklyn-based dance music experimenter who leans into her Portuguese heritage for profound inspiration. The metaphor of water webs throughout her discography, specifically in her album Drenched, due to the water surrounding her mother’s homeland in Portugal. She draws inspiration from her home in Brooklyn thanks to the eclectic nature of the city. QRTR said everyone in Brooklyn has different tastes in music, so she took that lead and immersed herself in experimentation with her expansive, seductive, broody, and captivating music.

This year alone, QRTR played DirtyBird CampINN, Electric Hotel Chicago, and Miami Music Week; dropped the Snowfall EP with remixes from Slug Father, Justin Martin, Maude Vôs, and Daedelus; and released an album, infina ad nausea, which had three songs in the Hulu film Fire Island and will headline Holy Ship! And Countdown NYE.

Additionally, QRTR is a part of LP Giobbi’s Femme House Initiative which brings more opportunities and awareness to female musicians and those in the LGBT community.

—Gabrielle Reeder

Read MP3 MAG’s Favorite Releases of 2022 and Favorite Events of 2022.

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