by: Zach Salafia
Dec 13, 2022
Every year, the designation of Breakout Artist is often reserved for a singular particular person who rode a meteoric ascent throughout the collective zeitgeist’s radar that yr, and captured a degree of ubiquity they hadn’t beforehand achieved—the artist whose yr was outlined by their level-up, so to talk. In 2022, there was no scarcity of artists to think about on this class, however for the primary time in latest reminiscence, two names continued to return up, each inextricably interwoven, and but each individually up subsequent. Being virtually unimaginable to say one with out the opposite, this yr, each ISOxo and Knock2 declare Dancing Astronaut‘s Breakout crown(s). A steadfast case might be made for both producer, however when contemplating both’s breakout candidacy, the 2 selectors’ lockstep frequency this yr made essentially the most compelling case for a shared designation this yr.
ISOxo and Knock2 have been sonically joined on the hip, going again to 2019 when the duo launched their collaborative single “Radial” on RL Grime‘s Sable Valley imprint. The 2 rapidly adopted up with the launch of a back-to-back combine collection ISOKNOCK 1: THE RAID, and from there, they had been off to the races. Being nominated as Dancing Astronaut Artists to Watch in 2021, that nod would instantly pay dividends within the type of two stellar debut EPs, ISOxo with Nightrealm and Knock2 with the 2HEARTs EP.
Within the wake of their dueling EPs, the 2 appeared decided to proceed to outdo themselves on the discharge radar in 2022. ISOxo kickstarted his marketing campaign with “REDloop“—a searing ID that appeared in RL Grime’s “Halloween X” set on the Hollywood Palladium. Then got here a heavy entice edit of Boombox Cartel, Kaaris, and Mr. Carmack‘s “Chargé.” And each tracks completely exemplify his distinctive manufacturing capacity to seamlessly fuse collectively high-octane entice with gritty house-driven parts. One among our most-sought IDs of 2022, “Angels Landing” with FrostTop laced the summer season collectively for ISOxo earlier than closing out this yr with a pointy outing on NIGHTMODE titled “inhuman” and a G Jones collaboration on “Say What.”
In the meantime, this yr Knock2 honed a stability of each his signature bass-house aptitude and a imply penchant for entice stylings on cuts like “PARANOiD,” “gettin’ hott” on NIGHTMODE and “JADE” on Sable Valley, garnering assist from RL Grime on his “Halloween XI: Lifeless Area” set in October. Moreover, Knock2 shared a shock “dlux” version of 2HEARTs that included a bonus minimize “my luv” and a remix of “murdah” by Asdek.
However Knock2’s pièce de résistance got here in July with the discharge of the VIP mixture of his hit unique “dashstar*”—an plain, licensed competition anthem. Most impressively is that from DJ Snake and Afrojack to Wooli, Blanke, Tchami and Malaa—with Martin Garrix, Audien, The Chainsmokers, and Kill The Noise in between—among the most revered tastemakers within the business have supported Knock2’s work. At simply 23, such a large ranging seal of approval is sort of the feat of excellence. And to have music able to being performed out by among the greats in genres spanning from progressive home to dubstep is a testomony to the common attraction of what Knock2 is cooking up. The cherry on high got here with a debut on the Billboard charts with “dashstar*.”
Each artists made waves within the dwell setting as effectively. In his competition debut, ISOxo notably had a double serving units at HARD Summer and hosted a stage takeover of his personal: ISOxo Presents: NIGHTREALM. It featured a fastidiously curated lineup alongside Dancing Astronaut Artists to Watch Aleko, FrostTop, and Villa together with established veterans like Flosstradamus, JAWNS, and Mr. Carmack.
Knock2 additionally made his competition debut at EDC Las Vegas as a part of NIGHTMODE’s label takeover this yr. Holding a primary slot subsequent to Kx5‘s debut efficiency, Excision, and A-Trak, Knock2 nonetheless managed to pack out the Rynobus into the walkways. Then got here the Brownies & Lemonade-backed ROOM202 debut headline present in Los Angeles, which kicked off a run of headlining reveals throughout the yr and ultimately an adrenaline-pumping homecoming present in San Diego.
Particular person accomplishments apart, what ISOxo and Knock2 managed to realize collectively makes their joint case untouchably ironclad.
This yr followers received not one however two ISOKNOCK mixes. The debut dwell iteration—and third installment within the collection—of ISOKNOCK got here because the shock nearer to ISOxo’s HARD Summer season takeover, and they didn’t disappoint. A packed-out Corona Electrical Seaside Stage appeared on as the 2 tore the NOS Occasion Heart down with their uncanny stage presence and a collaborative batch of beforehand unheard remixes.
ISOKNOCK reappeared as assist for RL Grime’s “Halloween XI: Lifeless Area” present on the Kia Discussion board. It’s uncommon to have the ability to dominate golf equipment and ignite stadiums with the identical music choice, and but ISOxo and Knock2 make it look effortlessly simple. What’s extra—on that October night time, earlier than Grime’s hallowed altar, the pair’s catalog received fairly a bit larger. With out warning, the duo dropped a collaborative remix album niteharts on streamers roughly quarter-hour earlier than they took the stage that night. The uniquely conceptual Sable Valley-backed LP finds the 2 particular person artists placing their very own contact on everything of the others’ five-track EP, for a complimentary fusion of sounds that spotlights ISOxo and Knock2 apparent chemistry.
It’s powerful to pinpoint only one factor that makes ISOxo and Knock2 stand out from so lots of their friends this yr. On the root of the pair’s particular person and joint success is a real friendship that began as a bond between likeminded individuals working in the direction of the identical objective. No time for rivalries. That sort of wholehearted camaraderie additionally appears to increase to the remainder of the San Diego Waterboys—Aleko, FrostTop and RemK—an uplifting group of mates that may’t assist however make you smile on their method up via the ranks. It’s no accident that each single member has now earned a nod as a Dancing Astronaut Artist to Watch.
The cultural significance of what ISOxo and Knock2 have completed inside dance music can’t be understated both. Their music has turn out to be really unescapable within the scene. Knock2’s “dashstar*” serves as a primary instance, however the identical could be mentioned about so many tracks from the pair’s collective discography. Tracks like ISOxo’s “murdah” remix have been rinsed by ILLENIUM, NGHTMRE, Flosstradamus, Trivecta, and Last Heroes to call a number of, whereas “Beam” has turn out to be a staple in Madeon’s Good Religion DJ units and “gettin’ hott” will get assist by the likes of Alison Wonderland, Zeds Dead, Moore Kismet, Afrojack and others. The checklist of high-profile producers supporting ISOxo and Knock2’s music goes on in perpetuity.
And that’s to say nothing about Knock2 and ISOxo’s dwell reveals. The high-octane music matched with feverishly charged crowd power is one factor, however the ardour and stage presence these two producers encapsulate is admittedly one thing else. Be it ISOxo’s costume adjustments, the calls to motion on the mic, or the quite a few particular friends you possibly can anticipate to pop up at their reveals, the power is ready to 11 from core to perimeter, locked in for everything of the expertise.
The most effective half although—issues aren’t about to decelerate in 2023. ISOxo not too long ago introduced his debut album KIDSGONEMAD! with a theatric curtain drop after back-to-back sold-out nights at The Fonda in Los Angeles. He’s additionally set to play Electric Forest and Ultra for the primary time within the coming months. Each are sitting on a bevy of unreleased cuts together with ISOxo’s bout with the entice king himself RL Grime and Knock2’s collaboration with fellow low-end royalty, NGHTMRE, which can also be underway. From relative unknowns to 2 of the most popular commodities in dance music in simply a few years, 2022 proved that there really isn’t any restrict on the potential for what these two San Diego boys are able to.
With out additional ado, congratulations to Dancing Astronaut‘s Breakout Artists of 2022: ISOxo and Knock2.
Featured picture: Tylor Vi