Top Nu Disco Artists of 2020
Welcome to the Traxsource Top 100 Nu Disco Artists of 2020. Welcome to the playground of a special caliber of artists and labels who are all putting their own unique touches to a sub genre made up from the DNA of House Music’s strongest aspects. Stunning vocals and infectious grooves underpinned by the feel good energy that soundtrack some of our favorite moments and memories. Once an emerging category, Nu Disco now sits firmly as one of the most popular and explored areas at Traxsource. Whilst the music is indeed king, it’s also thanks to the vision of well-crafted labels that have become stables to a roster of incredible artists. Toy Tonics, Tropical Disco Records, Midnight Riot, Sweat It Out, Sakura, Razor-N-Tape - they’ve all ebbed and flowed in harmony this year resulting in a solid stream of high-quality future classics. Find out which producers took things to the next level, and who put the funk into 2020!
20. Kraak & Smaak
Known for: Tensnake, Fiora - Automatic (Kraak & Smaak Extended Remix) Yuksek - The Rollercoaster (Kraak & Smaak Remix) Adeline - After Midnight (Kraak & Smaak Extended Mix)
19. Risk Assessment
Known for: Risk Assessment - You Must Be The Girl Risk Assessment - One More Risk Assessment - Turned On
18. Seamus Haji
Known for: Seamus Haji - 2000 Black (Extended Mix) Seamus Haji - Boogie 2nite (Extended Mix) Seamus Haji, Those Guys - I Walk Alone (For Your Love) Original Extended Mix
17. Rodney Hunter
Known for: Kraak & Smaak - In Plain Sight (feat. IVAR) (Rodney Hunter Extended Remix) Rodney Hunter - I’ll Still Be Here (Extended Mix) Rodney Hunter - Taste A Bit (Extended Mix)
16. Bruce Nolan
Known for: Dave Leatherman, Bruce Nolan - Everlasting Dave Leatherman, Bruce Nolan - Tune in for Disco Dave Leatherman, Bruce Nolan - Yor Luv
15. Mark Lower
Known for: Tommy Glasses - Oh Yeah (Mark Lower Remix) Mark Lower, Alexandra Prince - Feel (Original Mix) Mark Lower - Express Yourself
Known for: Choices - Less Is More - Music To Dance To Records
13. Yam Who?
Known for: SIRS, Stee Downes - Forever (Yam Who? Main Vocal Remix) Risk Assessment - Bad Times (Yam Who? Extended Vocal Remix) Din Jay, Richelle Hicks - Into My Life (Yam Who? Remix)
Known for: Moon Rocket - Melting Pot (Re-Tide Extended Remix) Re-Tide - Fire (Original Mix) Re-Tide - Back To The Boogie (Original Mix)
Known for: Michael Gray - Push (In the Bush) (Birdee Remix) Birdee, Andre Espeut - Can't Get Enough (Extended Mix) Colour Castle, Birdee, Buried King, Brazen - Wasted Funk (Original Mix)
Right, first things first - we have to start by saying thank you to Sartorial. In what is relatively a short space of time since launching three years ago in 2017, Alex (Sartorial) has given the world Tropical Disco Records - one of the best success stories of the disco scene. With label partner Moodena in the cockpit, the duo have taken the label to new heights. Thanks to an admirable work ethic, solid A&R credentials and nailing what it takes to launch a trusted buy-on-sight label, they have continued to drop release after release throughout 2020 that we can only imagine is going to melt dancefloors and disco balls around the world as we return to the front left speaker with our friends soon. It was also a big year for Sartorial personally, as a number of his own productions flew up the likes of our Hype and Weekend Weapons charts and guest DJ charts. ‘Addicted To You’ being one such fine example, kicking off the year with a slinky, groove-filled sax session with those big TDR disco drums doing their thing, pushing the track forward as it continues to build throughout almost 6 minutes of pure disco goodness. ‘Wobblecopter’ offered a more futuristic edge, which, you could say, is the very essence of Nu Disco, for the ultimate 5am hypnotic vibe lifter. ‘Got That Feeling’ with label buddy Moodena brought the best out of them - one word - trumpet. Check it out if you don’t know what we mean. ‘So Much’ saw Satrorial crank things up a notch yet again, with ‘Mirrors & Mannequins’ and ‘Disco Biscuit’ rounding off a whopping year. Where do you go from there after a year like that?! Wherever the flamingo goes, that’s where.
This year ends with a big Mark Brickman-sized stamp on it. He nailed 2020, no two ways about it - evident in his huge shift from #36 last year. Some of the year’s biggest releases at Traxsource carry his name. From making BIG movements over at Midnight Riot - including his chart topping smash ‘Again & Again’ which went to #1 (congratulations, Mark!) was charted by some of the biggest DJs in the scene and ends the year at an impressive #3 in our Top 200 Nu Disco releases of 2020. ‘Love Will Fix It’ featuring the immensely gifted vocalist from South Africa, Venessa Jackson, opened the Midnight Riot namesake compilation and flew out of the store. The same combination also brought us ‘Rise’, once again featuring Venessa’s vocals, and once again providing the perfect platform for their sound to flourish. Other standouts include ‘One Night In Miami’, ‘A Fifth Of Disco’ and the brilliant ‘Think’ EP which we’d happily say is 4 cuts of 100% Nu Disco perfection with each track showing off a slightly different edge to his sound. If that wasn’t enough, in between showering our charts with goodness, Brickman also found the time to run his own label, Rambunktious Records Miami, and to reach success with the likes of ‘This Funky Beat’ - bringing it home nicely and setting the scene for what looks set to be an even bigger year next year with more to come on Glasgow Underground and keeping that momentum rolling on Midnight Riot.
Sliding nicely up the rankings this year, is the original master of the laid-back, cosmic-funk groove - Hotmood! His fondness for groove laden disco, quality house, 70’s funk and deep sounds continues to bless us with a consistent stream of refreshing releases. Delivering none other than 4 tracks within this year’s Top 200 Nu Disco tracks of 2020, he’s been a busy guy - dropping big cut after big cut on the likes of Hive, Sundries, Re-Loved, theBasement Discos, Tropical Disco Records and not forgetting stirring dancefloor magic on his own Discoweey imprint! ‘Move Into The Night’ and ‘Don’t Brake It’ both went down a storm this year, Hotmood manouvering at his finest in the studio. ‘We Got The Power’ featured on his ‘Ayaaa’ EP which dropped on new Mexican label, Super Spicy Records helping to kickstart yet another new and exciting imprint (definitely one to watch). Baila Conmigo saw Hotmood return to what has become a natural second home for his music - his idyllic pairing with Tropical Disco Records camp, with DJs adding it to cart at lightning speed. The playful ‘Te Voy A Encontrar’ landed just in time for Summer on Casablanca Sunset Records, not long followed by his first solo EP on Re-Loved - ‘Funkee’ showed us why the likes of Claptone, Mark Farina, Art of Tones and Jacques Renault, amongst many others, have been hotly supporting his work. And just like that, in a frenzy of disco glitter - the year came to an end. If the past 365 days are anything to go by, then we expect big things from the marvellous Mexican maestro. Thank you for the music, Hotmood!
It’s been yet another productive year for the master that is Dave Leatherman! He managed to crank things up another notch in 2020, landing an impressive 8 tracks in our Top 200 Nu Disco end of year chart. Whilst it may be called ‘Nu’ Disco, Leatherman continues to demonstrate that long standing experience in the studio and generally being an undeniably awesome producer since the 90’s, often results in high-quality and much-in-demand output. Tropical Disco Records, Sure Cuts, Blockhead, Chopshop and Suppressed Energy all wanted a slice - dropping some of the freshest cuts of the year. Standout moments include the likes of ‘Tune In For Disco’ alongside Bruce Nolan which was swiftly followed up again by the duo with ‘Everlasting’ - both released on Leatherman’s own NightSpot Recordings and well received by music lovers around the world. ‘Everybody Get Up’ saw the return of the power Dutch duo, HP Vince and Dave Leatherman, released on the brilliant Tropical Disco Records. In keeping with the theme of power duos, ‘Who Got Who High’ saw Leatherman team up with Alexander Koning’s more club and Nu Disco orientated alias - Love In Colour - which dropped on the excellent Disco, Soul and Funk label, Sure Cuts. It’s safe to say that Dave Leatherman isn’t going anywhere anytime soon - if this year is anything to go by, then we look forward to hearing more of his original productions in 2021, rekindling some of those power-combos and to see who else he might inspire for a future collaboration. We do know this though - it will be good. Oh so good.
What a year that was for Purple Disco Machine! Staying true to his name, international DJ, producer and remixer Tino Piontek was exactly that - a disco machine, delivering some of the biggest tracks of the year. With touring pretty much off the cards, he still managed to broadcast live from Dresden and bring the House Music family some much needed feel-good energy - both as part of his own personal streams which have racked up hundreds of thousands of views, and for the Defected and Glitterbox virtual festivals. Whilst the year served as a mainly involuntary reset for many, it also gave us a sneak peak at what’s to come from Piontek. He released ‘Hypnotized’ featuring British newcomers ‘Sophie And The Giants’ at the same time as announcing his hotly-anticipated sophomore album, set for release in 2021 on Sweat It Out. Showing that he really is king of the remix, British rock band Foals received the disco rework treatment on ‘In Degrees’ as part of their Collected Reworks Vol.1 on Warner Music, featuring alongside other remixes from the likes of Hot Chip, Alex Metric and Hot Since 82. There really isn’t anything that he can’t turn into disco-dancefloor-dynamite! Claptone & Mylo’s ‘Drop The Pressure’ was most certainly another standout moment with avid music fans having already clocked this one during his sets the year prior. This was the year DJs could finally get their hands on it for themselves! The same goes for ‘In My Arms’ - an uplifting slice of Purple Disco Machinery, another smasher built for the dancefloor. Thanks to his ongoing level of quality that underpins his work, we’re excited to see where he goes next, not just in 2021 - but also in the many that will follow after.
5. HP Vince
It was a strong year of releases for Dutch producer Vincent Kriek, aka HP Vince. Landing a smooth 8 tracks in the Top 200 Nu Disco Tracks of 2020, Vince kept the good times coming with a display of successful productions on Springbok, Tropical Disco Records, Chopshop, Midnight Riot, Groove Culture amongst others. Producing since the 90’s, Vince is no newcomer to the game, and it's his deep influences and experience that continue to place his music at the top as a reference point for emerging artists to aim for. Standout releases include ‘Queen of Disco’ on Midnight Riot, his latest venture out on King Street Sounds with ‘The Weekend Is Here’ feat. Berenice van Leer, the much popular feel-god energizer ‘Can You Feel It’ on Groove Culture, ‘Soul Journey’, ‘The Nu Funk’ with Dave Leatherman and ‘Groove This Way’ - both finding homes amongst the flamingos on Tropical Disco Records and ‘New York Disco Lights’ on Springbok. Now THAT is how you round off a year in fine style and we can’t wait to find out what he’s got lined up for 2021!
4. Dr Packer
2020 was absolutely Dr Packer’s moment. His steady trajectory became more ‘SpaceX’ as he dominated our Soul / Funk / Disco charts. The king of the Disco re-edits dropped a relentless stream of heavyweight remixes across Midnight Riot, Glitterbox, Tinted, Fulltime and Bloodlines. The latter, saw Dr Packer’s remix of ‘Holy Word’ land with a dancefloor-disco-punch and set the tone for the year ahead - an artist that continues to mean business! ‘Nothing But The Music’, ‘Strawberry Letter 23’, ‘Bad Times’ and ‘You Make Me Do It’ all stood out as impeccable reworks - not only in terms of sales, but also airtime and love from other DJs around the world. If that wasn’t enough, he also managed to successfully drop the second installment of his ‘Different Strokes’ series on Glitterbox - just a casual 20 remixes of some of the biggest and most iconic disco anthems. All in a year’s work for the Australian selector and with 2020 offering more time in the studio vs. being on the road, then we can’t wait to find out what he’s got in store for next year!
That was an undeniably huge year for Yuksek! Moving up two places from 2019, the immensely talented producer dropped his fourth studio album, served up some BIG remixes on Glitterbox as well as some good housekeeping with more fresh pressure on his own label - Partyfine. Back to that album for a second - NOSSO RITMO, released on Sweat It Out, was a defining body of work for Yuksek, aka classically trained musician Pierra-Alexandre Busson. The 15 cuts on the album are some of the French DJ and producer’s most diversified work to date. Latin, Jazz, House - it’s all there, beautifully weaved amongst some of his more signature arrangements and ambitious ones alike, but most importantly, all lovingly underpinned by an ode to Disco. Not to mention it has one of the best pieces of music artwork that we'd seen for a long time! Yuksek has found a spirit home in Glitterbox. ‘Shake (Your Body)’ by Sidwho? got the remix treatment making for dancefloor early-hours dynamite that we’re itching to hear out in a hot, sweaty and crowded club (remember those?!) His remix of Risk Assessment feat. Jemeni G’s ‘Remember Me’ served as a stripped back and sublimely reimagined version that recounts the tales of Studio 54. Back at home, Yuksek was casually serving up even more heavy-hitting remixes. ‘Can’t Get Enough’ got a healthy dose of percussion, taking Dimitri From Paris & Aeroplane’s cut feat. Leela D to the main room. The year saw an array of other Partyfine releases landing on his 5th exclusive compilation ‘More Or Less Disco’ offering a smooth blend of the label’s aesthetic and euphoria. Another standout (so many!) was Yuksek’s take on O.N.O’s ‘Modern Dance’ - which was exactly that, a more futuristic disco edge on his groove-laden sound.
2. Art Of Tones
In 2006 something special happened. Ludovic Llorca pursued his ambitions of a more edgy and electronic side project, an outlet where he could focus on House and Disco music. The result? An absolute win for the House Music community - as Art of Tones was born, and as they say, the rest is history. This year has been no different with Llorca landing a strong 8 tracks in this year’s Top 200 Nu Disco Tracks of 2020 and moving up significantly from his #8 position in 2019. Proving yet again that one of France’s most illustrious musical exports remains one of the most in-demand artists (and remixers) for DJs and producers around the world. Labels are also in for a slice of the Tones action. He continues to showcase music on a mix of leading, established, emerging and contemporary labels alike. This year alone saw releases on Sub_Urban, theBasement Discos, Nervous, Seven Music, Midnight Riot, Foliage, Tinted and more. Essentially a wishlist for any budding artist out there - carte blanche for one of the leading lights in Nu Disco. Some of this year’s highlights include (and believe us when we say there were a lot to choose from!) his remixes of Danny Kane feat. Princess Freesia’s ‘Wonderland’, South West Seven’s ‘If You Want’ on Seven Music, Never Dull’s ‘Esta Llama’, his whopping ‘1982’ remix of Sunset City’s ‘Feels So Right’, Husky’s ‘Treat Me Right’ feat. Shyam P on Vicious and his infectiously good rework of Sebb Junior’s ‘Come Back’. If that wasn’t enough, he still managed to find time to curate the second edition of the Foliage Records various artists ‘Deep Rooted’ compilation - some 30 cuts deep, featuring two exclusive remixes from the man himself and a Deep Rooted DJ mix just to round things off. Not bad for a year’s work! Proving yet again that the Art Of Tones magic touch is indeed a real thing, and testament to his relentless work ethic.
We couldn’t think of a more deserving artist to not only just claim this year’s #1 position, but to retain it for the second year in a row - ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it for Moodena, the gift that keeps on giving! The Nu Disco don got straight to work from the get-go, landing a stomping 12 tracks in this year’s Top 200 Nu Disco chart. The love for Moodena and the Tropical Disco Records camp is palpable - charts, mini-mixes and releases, all adorned by loving disco fans the world over. Moodena - real name Tim Burnett is no one-trick pony though. Burnett’s career in electronic music spans 25 years. Perhaps it's this extensive background in House Music that enables him to effortlessly pull influences into cohesive, feel-good dancefloor numbers with that certain Moodena touch. Either way, Tropical Disco Records is now one of the most sought-after buy-on-sight labels. It’s going to be great. Everytime. 100% of the time. Standout tracks from the year include ‘The Rattlesnake & The Ant’, ‘Got That Feeling’ with label co-owner/buddy Sartorial, ‘No More Sushi’, ‘Jezebel’, ‘Deep Fried Funk’ and the brilliant ‘Papi Chulo’. Quite the string of releases, right? All in a year’s work for Moodena - who still found time for highly successful outings on Z Records and Midnight Riot with his remix of ‘Big Blow’ and rework of Massiande’s ‘Dancing Stuff (I Love The Way)’, respectively. Congratulations Moodena!