Simple Things returns to Bristol in October to celebrate its fourth birthday, and with it comes yet another sensational lineup. Exploring all corners of contemporary music, Simple Things quenches the thirst of every electronic, hip hop and dance music lover. This year, a rock-related twang is also incorporated, with electronic-rock headliner Mogwai and favourite dance-punk band of the noughties Death From Above 1979 recently added to the bill. In our untainted excitement, we have compiled not just ten, but our Top 15 acts to see at the festival.
Simple Things takes over Bristol on 24th and 25th October. For tickets head to the Simple Things website. To sample some of our picks, check out the playlist below.
Honing his past expertise in hip hop, garage, punk, electro, house and disco, DJ Harvey’s sets stand apart from the rest in their parable-like qualities. His musical dexterity always aims to please, and therefore his headliner set for the Red Bull Music Academy stage is high on our list of unmissable acts.
The Glaswegian band have spent the last twenty years lovingly building the bridge between electronic and rock music. A band who still have a firm grasp on their cult-like status, Mogwai honour Bristol with their presence by also headlining this year’s Simple Things alongside DJ Harvey.
Damiano von Erckert
The Cologne-based ava. label boss constantly stretches the mould of dance music with allusions to other styles: afrobeat, soul, disco, hip hop and more. With the majority of his productions orientated to get you on your feet and make you move, Damiano’s headline set for the Stamp The Wax stage is bound to send Simple Things off into a tropical frenzy of dance.
After the release of their debut album Imagin in August, London trio Dark Sky are an anticipated act to see live. We hope that their DJ set will infiltrate the Simple Things dancefloor with the dark, bass-heavy undertones of their heritage, combined with an increasing reputation of eclecticism, when it comes to showcasing other sounds they’re currently into.
Standing out as a diamond in a male-heavy industry, Laurel Halo breaks down boundaries with her aptitude for electronic music production. Acclaim for her 2012 album, Quarantine, included the number one spot for The Wire Magazine’s ‘Album of the Year’ listings.
In his most recent album, Rivers of the Red Planet, Berliner Max Graef successfully blurred the lines between dance music and hip hop beats. A cultivator of infectious sounds, it’s Graef’s interest in other genres – and actual disinterest in house music – that forms the originality in his (albeit house-orientated) dance music. Check out Graef’s Stamp Mix for a taste of what to expect from his DJing.
Still fairly new to the scene, the eternally young Happa has waded his way to the front of electronic music’s consciousness, defying his tender age with hard-hitting, industrial techno. While still juggling GCSEs and A Levels, he’s already remixed Four Tet, releasesd on R&S and Domino, been the subject of an RA documentary and co-runs his own label PT/5 Records.
Since the outset of his career in the 1990s, Sprinkles has explored topics of identity, equality and activism through the politics of the dancefloor, as well as other endeavours in art, graphic design, and more. The release Midtown 120 Blues was RA’s ‘Album of the Year’ in 2009 and last year’s Crossfaderama remix of The Mole made many end of year lists. To get an insight into some of Sprinkles’ philosophies and thoughts, his RA Exchange makes for very interesting listening.
For 21 years old, Rejjie Snow puts the rest of us to shame. His rapping style is reminiscent of MF Doom whilst providing much more stage presence. His lyrics manage to achieve relevance, intelligence and humour – a difficult feat to master.
Actress has engineered a distinctive style which combines minimal, experimental and club music convincingly. Reviews for his recent release Xoul were widely mixed but, for those that focus more on sonorous gradualness and development in music, this one’s for you. Actress is currently touring with the mastermind behind the Angels and Devils LP, The Bug, so he’ll be fully warmed up by the time he lands in Bristol for Simple Things.
Nightmares on Wax
One of Warp Records’ first artists, Nightmares on Wax is another legendary act on the bill for Simple Things. Starting with the 1991 album A Word of Science (before DJ EASE was joined by Robin Taylor-Firth to create today’s Nightmares on Wax ensemble), NoW’s sound has been inspired by various avenues of black urban culture: soul music, breakdancing, rap and the rest.
For a number of years, Kode9’s heavy duty sound has been setting trends in bass music internationally. As one of the early founders of UK dubstep, a lot of sonorous inspiration in Kode9’s music is taken from reggae, dub and hardcore. Arguably his best accomplishment is founding and owning one of today’s most powerful and innovated labels, Hyperdub.
Hailing from Bristol and part of the Wild Bunch, Milo Johnson found his feet as a producer and DJ in the New York 1990s music scene, taking elements from soul, disco and funk, as well as America’s classic house sound. The Nature Boy of the 90s has matured into the DJ of the 21st Century for a return to Bristol after a couple years away.
With the minimalist soundscape of his album Periscope Blues, and as the head honcho of L.I.E.S. label (featuring genre-defying artists such as Legowelt, Torn Hawk and Svengalisghost), Morelli shows no fear when it comes to musical experimentation. His live sets, more dance-orientated but often saturated with metallic scrapes and digital bleeps, are what we expect from his Simple Things performance.
Seven Davis Jr
A STW favourite, SDJr reincarnates and modernises the timeless sound of Chicago house to suit it perfectly to a modern-day dancefloor. As one of the scene’s most exciting names at the moment, productions by Seven Davis Jr never go amiss, and are often featured in some of your favourite DJ’s sets.