10 EDM Acts/Artists That Use Live Instruments

Posted at December 24th, 2015 | by Anwesha | in

Dance Music is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres produced largely for nightclubs, raves, and festivals. While traditionally, EDM implies a live mix, with a DJ blending tracks together, one following another, today, the use of musical instruments alongside the ‘electronic’ music is gaining prominence. More and more artists have begun to incorporate instruments such as guitars, drums, synthesizers, saxophones and so many others in their act. Some artists also include vocals in their music, alongside the traditional EDM roots.

Some of the best such artists have been included in the list below. Note though, that the list is not in any particular order of rank. Neither is this list conclusive; there are undoubtedly many many more performers that too are incredible.

Disclosure

Consisting of the English duo, Guy and Howard Lawrence, they have been acclaimed as rising stars, from the time of the release of their very first album, “Settle”, in 2013. Incorporating bass guitar, keyboard, drums and vocals, they declare, that their performances have a format similar to that of a live band. Conventional pop music meets dance music – this is their mantra.

With Grammy nominations and album collaborations with other artists, Disclosure is indeed a phenomenon to watch out for. Their take on the EDM scene is unique.

Deadmau5

Joel Thomas Zimmerman is known professionally as Deadmau5. He is a Canadian progressive house music producer and performer from Toronto. He produces a variety of styles within the house genre and sometimes other forms of electronic music using live instruments alongside the traditional EDM style.

He has been steadily gaining prominence and fame and his tracks have been included in numerous compilation albums. He has received six Grammy nominations for his work and alongside solos, has worked, amongst others, with other DJs and producers such as Kaskade, MC Flipside, Rob Swire of Knife Party and Pendulum, Wolfgang Gartner.

Daft Punk

An electronic music sensation that innumerable people are already well acquainted with, the team consisting of French musician duo Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter have been popular and successful for a while now. They use a combination of elements of house music with funk, techno, disco, rock, and synthpop.

Originally members of a rock band, they now create electronic music and have several Grammy Awards in their repertoire. They composed the score of the film Tron: Legacy.

The group is known for emphasising using visual and story components associated with their musical productions, and for their unique disguises.

The Prodigy

An English electronic music group from Essex, named after the Moog Prodigy synthesizer, The Prodigy was formed in 1990. Even today, they are a musical force to be reckoned with their unique music style, with a keyboardist, vocalists, seamlessly integrated into their unique big beat and electronic punk style of music. Their accolades, include Grammy nominations, and two Brit Awards, and two Kerrang! Award wins.

They’ve worked on numerous albums and are a musical force to watch out for.

Caribou

“Caribou” is the stage name of Daniel Victor “Dan” Snaith a Canadian composer, musician and recording artist. Caribou usually performs with a live band consists of Snaith, Ryan Smith, Brad Weber, and John Schmersal. The shows often include complex video projections.

His experimentations with blending different sounds together that meshes with a chord sequence or a sonic mood, has given rise to an unique live band, who have incidentally, been touring for around a decade.

Caribou has several Grammy nominations, awards such as IMPALA Album of the Year Award, Polaris Music Prize, Essential Mix of the Year in 2014 by Mixmag, to name a few, in his repertoire.

Empire of the Sun

The Australian-German duo of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore make up Empire of the Sun. Their unique performance is supported by their strong musical backgrounds. Littlemore is the songwriter, and their act has keyboard and guitar performances as well as vocals.

With nominations for Song of the Year” at the 2009 Australian Performing Rights Association awards, nominations and victories at the 2009 ARIA Awards, this is indeed a promising band.

Griz

Grant Kwiecinski, stage name GRiZ, is an American DJ and electronic producer. He is known for playing the saxophone along with producing funk, electro-soul, and self-described future-funk. His unique music, which warps dubstep and glitch hop together with beautiful melodies has enabled him to carve out his own niche.

Pretty Lights

Derek Vincent Smith is an electronic music artist who performs under the stage name Pretty Lights. His album “Color Map of the Sun” inspired him to perform live. the album was eventually nominated for best dance/electronica album at the Grammy Awards. He is also the proprietor of an associated music label, Pretty Lights Music. Pretty Lights began with playing for acts such as STS9, The Disco Biscuits, and Widespread Panic.

Flosstradamus

Flosstradamus is the stage name of Chicago-based DJs J2K, Josh Young and Autobot, Curt Cameruci. They have performed at numerous music festivals, and alongside artists including Kid Sister, Diplo, Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J, The Cool Kids, and A-Trak.

They play trap music, with trap-style drum patterns and synthesizer timbres. The EDM Trap genre sees the use of techno, dub, and dutch house sounds combined with drum samples and vocal samples.

Zedd

Anton Zaslavski, better known as Zedd, is a Russian-German musician, DJ and producer. His particular brand of EDM includes different instruments in his songs and performances. With synths, vocals, piano driven notes his performances are amazing. His new album is characterized by pop, piano-centric slow jams and orchestral moments.

He has won a Grammy award, and has collaborated with many music greats, including Paramore’s Hayley Williams, Echosmith, Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande.He has played at festivals, such as Ultra, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Coachella.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfC7hcPtDxE

Few more you should know about: 

Haywyre – Combines a live keyboard performance with an electronic mix to create incredible music.

Opiuo – A unique glitch hop style with live instruments such as drums.

EOTO – A live band that while maintaining EDM roots seamlessly integrates drums and bass, electro, dubstep, house and glitch hop.

STS9 – With guitars, percussions, synthesizers, keyboards, drums and so on, this act has the best of EDM and musical instruments.

Modestep Live vocals, drums, and dirty drops that blend to create an amazingly chaotic performance.

 

The seamless integration of music, technology and visual performance, into a single act is gaining popularity. The incorporation of live instruments with technology seems very likely to be the future.

Anwesha

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