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Credit: HARD Summer Music Festival (hardsummer.com)

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All you need to know about who’s playing at HARD PNW (DMNW Artist Guide)

HARD PNW, now run by Insomniac Events, is coming to the Tacoma Dome on March 19. For the past few years (with the exception of 2020), HARD Summer Music Festival has hit Southern California as a massive two-day festival. Now, the PNW is welcoming our own one-day rendition of the event across two stages.

Whether you’re attending or are still on the fence about going, the inaugural lineup has something for everyone. For more information, visit the HARD PNW website for tickets. Read below for the full DMNW artist guide.

HARD Stage

RL Grime B2B Baauer

Together, trap kingpins RL Grime and Baauer will headline HARD PNW. Their collaboration is nothing short of a dream, as they unveiled their HÆRNY project last summer debuting at HARD Summer 2021. It was revered as one of the best sets of the weekend, and for good reason.

Both RL Grime and Baauer are lauded as two of the brightest stars in trap music today, and their music shows it. RL Grime is internationally recognized for his stellar live shows and hit collaborations that could turn any scene into a party.

He’s also the mastermind behind Sable Valley, the predominantly trap label which has helped bolster fellow HARD PNW artist Juelz as a recognizable name. Additionally, RL Grime is also recognized for his annual Halloween mixes, which fuse pop culture with all kinds of electronic music for the last decade.

Baauer is also a recognizable name if you pinpoint the origins of the 2013 internet meme trend, the Harlem Shake. If you (like many of us) prefer to look beyond that era, you’d find Baauer musically responsible for much more than that. In fact, you’d find a Grammy-nominated, double-platinum number one artist who’s been producing since the age of 13.

For good reason, RL Grime B2B Baauer is the headlining slot for HARD PNW. There’s a few (understandably) shaky recordings of their HÆRNY at HARD Summer 2021, but you may be best off listening to each artist separately and prepare to have your socks blown off.

Kayzo

Kayzo’s an artist for the bass music enthusiasts, no doubt. But he’s not your typical bass artist, either. He’s fluent in morphing metal, hardstyle, and trap, with an emphasis on dubstep.

Complete with a worldwide following amid headlining international festival slots, Kayzo has also dabbled into his own label, Welcome Records. With almost 1.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone, he’s also earned the respect of EDM’s biggest heavyweights including Skrillex, SLANDER, Steve Aoki, and more. His heart-pumping set won’t be one to miss.

JOYRYDE

You’d be hard pressed to find as versatile or well-respected artist as JOYRYDE. Since he began making music, he’s pushed the caliber of dance music production forwards. With elaborate stage setups, a self-designed fashion line, and a relentless touring schedule, JOYRYDE has quickly become a household name.

What’s more? His debut album, BRAVE, made an easy case for best album of 2020. Released just a few months into the pandemic, JOYRYDE dives into a deeply personal chapter of his life comprised of life-changing surgery and opioid addiction. Overcoming those obstacles, JOYRYDE blends together the darkness with an immaculately-produced album.

Wax Motif

The Australian-native house DJ Wax Motif has amassed something of a cult following over the last several years. As one of the more popular current DJs out there, Wax Motif has garnered fans internationally. Bringing a fresh perspective on some of pop music’s biggest hits, Wax Motif makes his breed of dance music accessible to a huge audience.

As a regular touring artist to the PNW scene, he’ll be a great addition to the lineup for HARD. Make sure to bring good shoes and plenty of water for this one, because Wax Motif will keep everyone dancing hard for this set.

Capozzi

Taken under the wing of Tchami’s Confessions label, Capozzi is an up-and-coming DJ from the Bay area. Although we don’t know too much about her yet, the singles she’s released to date have been absolute bangers. Since coming up in 2019, real name Jordan Capozzi has pumped out sultry house set perfectly for dancing.

GRAYMATTER

Hailing from our very own Seattle, GRAYMATTER is a house producer and DJ. He’s opened for a number of big acts in the last couple of years, including GTA and Ghastly. Helping to cultivate a fresher scene in the PNW, GRAYMATTER also helped launch a label collective in 2018, SUB 49.

Although he first dabbled in trap, the last few years he’s found more a niche in bass house. More recently, he’s found a niche in remixing artists like Steve Miller Band and the Bee Gees into trippy, thumping house.

PNW Stage

Justin Martin

A house music veteran who first peaked the attention of dance music nearly two decades ago, Justin Martin is consistently impressive. He’s often revered for his ability to combine beauty and grit using melodies and emotional vocal samples with sweeping bass lines.

In a testament to his longevity and mark on the scene, Martin is one of the artists involved with the conception of Dirtybird Records. Following two full-length critically acclaimed albums and renowned international success, Martin is an absolute master of his craft.

VNSSA

VNSSA has been a staple in the house music scene for several years. The LA-based artist has been popping off at festivals like Coachella, Dirtybird Campout, EDC, and more. After her 2019 chart-topping single with Walker & Royce, Word, VNSSA went on to release other big singles and EP’s on Diplo’s Higher Ground, Insomniac Records, Dirtybird Records, and more.

With a steady mix of house and some techno, VNSSA’s made a name as a PNW favorite. We caught her at Diplo’s Higher Ground last summer in Seattle, and HARD PNW must have caught the call to bring her to this year’s lineup.

Born Dirty

You’ll never have as much fun at a set as Born Dirty. The artist has been starting parties around the globe. Most recently, Born Dirty performed a free Open House set at 45 East in Portland last weekend kicking off their limited 6-stop tour.

Throughout his career, Born Dirty created an upbeat multicultural dance-able signature sound pulling from a diverse upbringing. Bouncing from Israel to France, London, and Los Angeles, his background is apparent in every song. No two songs are the same, with an array of house, trap, and hip-hop.

If the winter blues struck you this year or you need a pep talk, do yourself a favor and pop on pretty much anything in his discography.

Juelz

The last few years have been meteoric for the Vancouver B.C.-based artist, Juelz. After a meteoric collab with RL Grime on the trap legend’s Sable Valley label, Juelz has continued to turn heads. He’s made a name for himself by fusing hip-hop and trap and stepping outside of it into the wider pool of electronic music.

Alongside RL Grime, other major artists have turned to support Juelz. Ekali and Quix both brought along Juelz as direct support on their tours a few years ago, and he featured sets on Diplo’s radio show, and BBC Radio One. Last fall, he also performed a blazing set for the inaugural Beyond Wonderland at the Gorge.

Juelz is definitely one to keep an eye on, and we can’t wait to see what he unleashes for HARD PNW.

Subset

Another PNW-based local who you could count on for a mix of funk, hip-hop, and house, Subset is a great addition to the HARD lineup. Subset first started releasing music close to a decade ago, and has steadily bounced through renegade sets at massive festivals around the country at festivals like Burning Man, Holy Ship!, and Dirtybird Campout.

With a host of releases on the Dirtybird label and a steady slew of livestream sets over 2020, you can find plenty to sink your teeth into. It’s easy to get lost in an hour with Subset, and his personality as a DJ consistently shines through in these mixes.

Jesse Leer

With only a handful of releases on SoundCloud, Jesse Leer is a Seattle local set on creating his own sound. If you’re lucky, spot Jesse out at Monkey Loft just before HARD on March 12th and see what he’s about. To get a taste of his minimalist deep house style, check out his set on SoundCloud from 2020 below.

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