Like a mother bird keeping her eggs warm, Dirtybird Records has hatched the careers of several DJs in their own proverbial nest over the past 18 months, taking artist after artist under their wing.
Social media helped hype the label's newest recruits in the absence of live shows, but few could argue that the real magic happened on the online streaming platform Twitch, which seemingly to the heartbeat of the electronic overnight during the pandemic Dance music scene became. For Dirtybird, their Twitch channel received amazing support with more than 7 million viewers streaming as of April 2020, totaling more than 928,000 hours of direct screen time with fans. They also quickly gained more than 50,000 active followers on the platform and strengthened their digital presence.
As the threat posed by this era-defining pandemic seems to be fading into the background (events are back!), Newcomers, all oozing attitude and talent, are getting to work. Up-and-coming producers Nikki Nair, Lubelski and Nala, among others, made waves in the imprint during this period by sharing their music on Dirtybird Records' Twitch channel.
By taking their place alongside the others on the label, like Walker and Royce, Justin Martin and co-founder Claude VonStroke, they are building on their momentum and translating their successes from digital "likes" and "listening" to flailing arms in a crowd. Everyone is also set to take on a number of tour dates and major festivals, and the label's support has carried over to the studio as well. In fact, each of these artists has released new EPs in the past three months, with the exception of Lubelski, who announced a full album of new music.
Grab Lubelski's Fire Extinguisher of Creativity and have a drink. While leading sophisticated audio modulation courses where other mad scientists could benefit from his extensive knowledge of sound design, he put together his new track "Asylum" for his upcoming Happy Accidents LP. In doing so, he absorbs the ingenuity and skill of his online sessions and casually lets the kind of intelligence and experimentation play out that are just as at home in the laboratory as on stage. We're not going to say his set is going to be head-scratching perfection and you will hate yourself for missing out on the Dirtybird Campout for the chance to see him, but do we really have to?
Nala, on the other hand, flies under the radar because she mostly performed in clubs. But during the pandemic, she connected with fans on Twitch by hosting a weekly livestream TV party that drew more than 7,500 viewers.
The Miami-born singer, songwriter and powerhouse producer then wrote her latest EP Everything is Burning together with Dirtybird boss Claude VonStroke. The dazzling two-track album is personal, energetic and the fact that it was created as a musical reprieve from the climate crisis the planet is facing makes it a timely concept with a welcome slap in the face.
The case of the mysterious Nikki Nair, Tennessee's first house music titan, is slightly different. His three years as a music producer were a series of catapulting successes for the young hair god. Despite the limited time behind the decks, he's already turning his heads around big names like Jamie XX, Ben UFO and Four Tet. That's a damn good development for a guy who can count his years in the studio on one hand.
Unsurprisingly, his "In the Void" sessions on Twitch always made waves, but in live shows the content of his new four-track EP More is Different was a full tsunami.
Photo credit: Ian Flannery
Now that they are stable in flight with the rest of the Dirtybird herd, one has to wonder how high they will fly. Now that emerging luminaries like these have chosen Dirtybird Records as their nest, more are likely to follow. And so the good grows.
The fact that these artists are allowed to deliver their new songs alongside legendary acts like Damian Lazarus, Carl Craig and Sir Mix-A-Lot makes their upcoming appearance at the Dirtybird Campout even more of a milestone. For fans, it is also a pleasure to rub their elbows with symbols like these, because DJs in the Dirtybird Campout have the opportunity to meet fans at a sporty ping-pong game, an absolutely safe paint archery lesson or an obviously specially costumed boat race hold true. You can even do it in a wildly clumsy but all too hilarious potato sack race.
Tickets can be purchased while they are still available on the Dirtybird Campout website. You can also subscribe to their email newsletter, The Birdfeed, for the latest information, updates and exclusive music releases.