PillowTalk and Five Other Live Acts Redefining Electronic Dance Music

Categories: Lists
Disc jockeying is certainly a respectable craft. It requires certain skills, like programming a track selection and beatmatching/mixing records. But let's face it, we give DJs way too much credit -- all they do is play records.

There's something about the improvisational spontaneity and the hands-on human aspect of live musical performance that makes it much more visceral and exciting than watching someone play studio recordings like a jukebox.

With the recent surge of DJ software like Traktor and its much-maligned sync button, the stakes have been raised drastically higher in the EDM performance game. Because anyone can be a DJ now without acquiring the traditional beatmatching skills you used to need. And besides the music geeks hanging out at the booth and scrutinizing the DJ's every move, who's gonna know the difference?

Perhaps it's for this reason, if not people's growing tedium with the cult of the DJ in general, that there seems to be a rise in the number of EDM acts doing it live. And unsurprisingly they're becoming some of the most popular acts on the scene.

1. PillowTalk
San Francisco threesome PillowTalk were serious standouts at WMC this year, and the buzz around them just keeps growing exponentially. It helps that despite being relative newcomers to the international scene, they already count releases on hotly tipped labels like Wolf + Lamb, Visionquest, and Life and Death. But it's their charismatic live boogie antics that may be converting the most fans. Catch them live at the Electrc Pickle this Saturday and find out why they're one of the most exciting EDM acts doing it live right now.

2. No Regular Play
No Regular Play first came to international prominence in the late 2000s with a string of releases on Wolf + Lamb. And they very quickly made it known just how differently they do things live. Greg Paulus is basically the Chet Baker of electronic dance music, blowing sexy live trumpet riffs in between sultry vocals, while partner Nick DeBruyn handles the bleeps, bloops and beats. This is highly seductive and mind-expanding dance fare which you won't soon forget.

3. dOP
This Parisian trio definitely does shit differently. Their studio work is quirky enough, breaking down the barriers between genres like house, techno, jazz, cabaret, and world music. But they also break down the barriers between performers and spectators, turning their shows into debauched party frenzies where anything goes.

Location Info


Electric Pickle

2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Music

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Article should be titled 'acts that have gained notoriety in the last 2 years and happen to have a live element to their shows'.

If you want to talk about innovative you should talk about the music coming out of the UK and Berlin. Dubstep DJs became a bit tired with the stagnant scene and started to blend techno with their bass-heavy sounds. The result? The music coming out of Hessle Audio/Hotflush Records/Hyperdub. The fact that you have not mentioned Burial or someone like that says a lot about your knowledge of the current state of music. Dude released an EP less than 6 months ago that is miles ahead of everything on this list. 

Listen to Objekt's latest Electronic Exploirations podcast or the Fabric/Fabriclive mixes curated by artists like Pearson Sound and Pinch. That is pushing the envelope. 


where is maya jane coles in this magical list??

Mikael Ouriques
Mikael Ouriques

What's SO INNOVATIVE bout those live acts to redefine electronic music? 


They are awesome musicians, specially maceo plex, but they're doing things that we saw a thousand times before. I think i could sya that they are bringing the term "live PA" - the real kind of live PA - back to the spots. And that's it.

Sean Levisman
Sean Levisman

Mikael, you're entitled to disagree with the semantics used in the title. What we meant by "redefining" electronic dance music is that they are redefining the standard or norm by by electronic dance music is presented live. Instead of spinning records, they are performing with instruments, hardware and live vocals.

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