5 Under 15k is a feature on Dancing Astronaut dedicated to spotlighting talented up-and-coming and largely undiscovered artists who we believe deserve more exposure. Each edition of 5 Under 15k will highlight five artists from a wide variety of genres with under 15,000 followers on SoundCloud (at the time of writing).
For the past four years, deep house and techno purveyor, Dastan, has delivered dance music what he calls “a strong Middle Eastern and tribal flair” throughout the District. In addition to his residencies over the years at Washington, D.C.’s Flash Nightclub and Eighteenth Street Lounge, among other venues in the nation’s capital, Dastan has carved out an ample niche for himself in the festival scene.
Between 2018 and 2019, Dastan covered a considerable amount of ground, appearing at Burning Man, Catharsis, Dimensions, Carribean destination festival, Vujaday, and Belgium’s Tomorrowland, wherein the last of which he’s acted as the event’s Global Journey DJ for the last two years. The smooth beat spinner’s sets carry a darkly potent pulchritude; these live efforts evidence his acute ear for culturally inflected sound, carried forth to the rhythm of sauntering beats. Although Dastan reserves the majority of his original productions for club play, listeners can sample the allure of Dastan’s sound his recently released Summer 2019 Mix, in which Dastan elusively embeds some of his own IDs.
Hot off a live stint at Electric Zoo 2019, Kaivon is a name with which electronic music enthusiasts in the Tri-state Area may newly be acquainted. The producer’s style is largely a blend of melodicism and future bass, unified by one thematic thread: rebirth.
“My music aims to tell the story of how [people] can lose themselves over the course of their lives, and [can] then be reborn into their true beings,” Kaivon told Dancing Astronaut. “[With my music,] I want to evoke feeling in people that they have never felt before. To make people live in the present moment for just a second, because those moments where we are present with the people we love most are the most beautiful moments of all.”
Kaivon’s catalog is home to a host of remixes, such as Kaivon’s takes on Flume’s “Insane,” Zeds Dead and Delta Heavy’s “Lift You Up,” and Alison Wonderland’s “Peace.” Yet, the heart of Kaivon’s creative ingenuity beats most fervently in his own original releases. “First Breath” of Kaivon’s aptly titled 2018 album, Rebirth, provides an engrossing introduction.
For Omar, his life focus of the past few years can be articulated in just two words: making music. The drive to hone in on his own original productions prompted Omar to move to Atlanta.
“[It] was a huge step in my musical journey,” Omar told Dancing Astronaut. “I took a break from DJing and [channeled my energy into] producing music.”
After releasing solo EPs and singles for some time, Omar gradually began to redirect his talents to others’ records. He’s produced music with G Koop and J57, and recently relocated to Los Angeles, where he’s currently producing music for KIDinaKORNER signees.
I care about bringing positive music into the world, [music] that sends a message but also gives you that stank face.
A wavy and often down to mid-tempo funk pervades Omar’s original productions. A diverse body of flips and original efforts alike, Omar’s repertoire has a danceable appeal, as evidenced by “bartier pimpin,” which offers a fresh take on Cardi B’s “Bartier Cardi.” Omar’s 2018 album, Omar Makes Beats, vol. 1, meanwhile acquaints streamers with the fresh, mellow technics of Omar’s aesthetic. Delve into the dynamism of Omar’s sound:
His finger planted firmly on the lively pulse of progressive sound, Chris Varvaro‘s productions pump a particularly energetic brand of the subgenre through listeners’ speakers. Case in point: Varvaro’s recent single, “Let Me Go.” The melodic chord progressions audible on the Desanka-assisted song emblematize Varvaro’s penchant for meticulous song construction.
“I am all about chords and melodies, so naturally I [tend to] make more melodic music,” Varvaro said in an interview with Dancing Astronaut. When engineering his music, Varvaro, however, does not remain bound to one subgenre. “I created the genre ‘pursound’ after realizing that I love chill, downtempo, and progressive, so I figured: why not combine them?” he added.
Varvaro’s cross-genre dexterity and interest in experimenting with sounds and arrangements that extend beyond the progressive subgenre reflects in his recent collaboration with OMAIR, “Controlled Chaos.” Although “Controlled Chaos” is progressively leaning, the co-produced cut sees Varvaro and OMAIR take a techno course of action.
OMNOM has commendably shaken up his corner of the house music scene since the debut of 2018’s flippantly fun single, “Fo Free.” A veritable house heater that has continued to set dance floors afire, “Fo Free” made use of a rounded bass line, alien-tech sound effects, and a cheeky monologue voiced by OMNOM himself, all of which collectively situated the release well within the carefree funk of Dirtybird‘s wheelhouse.
In the time since, OMNOM has taken his off-kilter sound beyond Dirtybird’s domain, to release House of Hustle and Insomniac, while simultaneously picking up billings at HARD Day Of The Dead and Brooklyn’s Warehouse of Horrors Halloween affair, among other events. OMNOM brings the boom boom with erratic, pulsating bass lines and wonky sound effects that infuse his original productions with a standout idiosyncrasy.