What do our favorite superheroes and elusive DJs have in common? While ordinary citizens meander throughout Gotham and ravers throughout the dance floor, they are both anonymous protectors of our night keeping the streets safe from villains and disappointing drops alike.
The relationship between each artist and their act is unique. Some take their new persona to the extreme and remain anonymous behind the facade, while others are casual about their true identity on and off the stage. Why hide? Done well, the disguises can illicit a type of emotional response that a normal human cannot. The focus becomes less on a person and more on a persona that perfectly fits the music and allows for more of an escape.
In addition, fans playing the guessing game generates extra hype and attention that the artist will perpetuate on social media. The veil does have the potential to become too much of the focus, however. The true product of the artist should always be high quality tunes, not a well-crafted marketing scheme. From gooey desserts to ferocious beasts, are these the masked heroes we need, or deserve?
Another new name to the scene that was gently lifted into attention by popular artists (Diplluminati?), house stud Malaa just got off the Pardon My French tour with his fellow Parisians DJ Snake, Tchami, and Mercer. A steady booming and often flattened kick drum combine with hip hop and house samples in a minimal and spooky mixdown that perfectly matches the alter ego. The “Who is Malaa?” mix series is always a well-crafted journey as well.
UZ was a pioneer of the trap scene with his 25-song Trap Sh*t series of originals boasting intricate and powerful 808 drums. Featuring some of the hardest hitting sub-bass in the game and snare rolls that are art in their own respect, he just dropped his Magellan EP last week and an album is expected this year.
Marshmello burst onto the scene over a year ago by posting his breed of vibey, high-pitched, and buzzy trap to Soundcloud and gathering high-profile follows and reposts. Over the last year he has become one of the most in demand touring artists on the festival circuit while promoting a ‘keep it mello’ message to his mellogang.
Expect nothing but smooth and soulful house coming from these masked men. Shown performing their Immortal Live set as a duo at Coachella this year, German maestros Claptone have one mission – to bring people together with the beat. In a recent interview, they explain that “coming together and letting go doesn’t need the approval of a self-imposed demagogue, just great music.”
Plush toys? Those are on Aisle 11, ma’am. Plush toys and dubstep? On the Jerry Springer show. Just a couple weeks ago, Bear Grillz revealed his (gasp!) face on the Jerry Springer show to much fanfare. RJ may not be trying to “neutralize a deity” a la Claptone but either way, Grillz (or “RJ”) goes insane live. He was recently on support of Excision’s sold-out Paradox tour and can be found throughout North America this summer on the festival circuit.
Zhu is the all-encompassing example of what a masked artist should be; A mysterious persona, a completely moving and visually stunning live show, a catalogue of stunning music that a singular identity can’t define.
And to finish out the comic book, click the next page for seven more masked mixers. Have more to add to the list? Share on our Facebook wall!