Barcelona is not only one of the most beautiful cities to live in, but it also has a great taste in festivals. Among its leaders, Sónar is one of the city’s most unique dates in the calendar, as a key platform for the world’s best names in dance and electronica. Dedicated to combining creativity and technology, the festival becomes an entirely interactive, audio-visual experience, for both the public and top players in the tech-music industry.
Sónar 2015 brings together some of the most innovative minds to the forefront, with an impeccable line up that will no-doubt keep festival goers on their toes. Split into Sónar by Day with concerts and DJ showcases from upcoming talents, talks and projects by the newest music-tech innovators at Sónar+D, and Sónar by Night with some of electro dance music’s biggest international tastemakers.
With so much to cram in to 3 days, here’s a schedule of what not to miss. But with a line-up that lets you see Duran Duran, Die Antwoord and Skrillex at the same festival, it’s clear Sónar pulled out some big guns for 2015!
Thursday 18th June
Thursday kicks off Sónar with an array of big underground names and up and coming dance stars. Electronica is shown in all its colours with dabbles in rap, grime, synth-pop, 70s disco and eerie paranormal beats. Let’s find out what the future of dance might look like…
Arca & Jesse Kanda
With Kanye West, Bjork and FKA Twigs all having had Arca collaborate on their new albums, it’s clear he has a lot of talent to share around and for a good reason. The Venezuelan producer creates an entirely new and unique sound combining lazy beats, grime bass lines and eerie atmospheres that could be shaping a new path for future electronica. Arca’s new album “Xen” will come to life at Sónar by Day, enhanced by the powerful contorted graphics of Jesse Kanda.
Xosar & Torn Hawk
Do you like your dance music processed through a meat grinder? Well if you do, you’re in luck as Xosar is a pro. Hailing from Germany this young DJ has earnt herself a reputation as a sorceress of dance encapsulating an eerie electronic sound possessed from the other side. She’ll seduce listeners with her electratribe crafted beats from upcoming record Opal Tapes’ Black Opel.
Danish Kasper Bjorke worked his way up the ladder with his 70s disco infused electronica. Now with his fourth album “After Forever” released at the beginning of 2015, Kasper has faded into a little colder, dreamy and melancholic landscape driven by synthesizers. He’s one of the many artists making emotive electronica next to the likes of Ten Walls and Tourist.
Sónar also hosts a number of the most innovative and talented artists from Spain, one of the most know names on the underground circuit is Skygaze. Releasing the “Smooth EP” just a few months ago, the musical project by Jaime Tellado has gained notoriety for its future dreamscape vibes. It’s highly seductive with elements of ambient, hip-hop and future jazz, which will be a perfect opening at SónarVillage.
Mumdance & Novelist feat. The Square
Sónar has placed hip-hop as a key component of its line-up for 2015, hosting a number of top artists and newcomers who are giving the genre a new sound. One of the first to appear is Londoner Mumdance, who brings his fresh perspective to grime along with a promising new voice, Novelist. Their set should bring some of the most progressive grime beats to Sónar.
Friday 19th June
Just one day in and Sónar 2015 is in full swing with some of its biggest names hitting the stage that have all lead the way and pushed the boundaries of dance music of recent years. Friday get serious with a killer line up.
With a tendency to split opinion as to whether he is a musical genius or just making a load of noise, Sonny Moore aka Skrillex, is undoubtable one of the most successful and charismatic producers worldwide. Springing his last album “Recess” out of the blue last year, his live set at Sónar will no doubt follow suit with his adrenaline lead electronica that seamlessly makes robot sex sound very very good.
Die Antwoord are one of the most controversial live acts of recent years with Ninja and Yolandi well known for their typically pulsating on-stage charisma. With 2015 being their third appearance at Sónar, they will surely push the boundaries to the edge as they show off their impressive collection of gangsta rap and rave infused hits.
The leading name for Sónar 2015’s hip-hop pandemonium, A$AP Rocky is a leading and ambitious star of the genre with a penchant for narcotic rhythms and psychedelic raps. In the aftermath of his successful third album “Long.Live.A$AP” which featured the likes of Kenrick Lamar, Drake, 2Chainz and Skrillex, he will have a hell of a show to play at Sónar with new material sprinkled in between.
As one of the biggest acts if drum’n’bass at Sónar 2015, DJ Fresh will no doubt give an electric performance following Skrillex on Friday night with several chart hits under his belt and tracks collaborating with vocalists that transcend genres.
As one of the creative minds behind The XX, Jamie XX already had a reputation as one of the UK’s most pioneering producers. He hit his peak on his solo career after releasing his revision of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” and has since created music which tips its hat to classical and modern electronica. He’ll be one not to miss at this year’s festival.
Saturday 20th June
The last night brings a huge set of artists with two of the biggest international artists from the UK and a revolutionary newcomer.
The Chemical Brothers
With a career spanning 20 years, The Chemical Brothers have gained a name for redefining the idea of live electronic music. At Sónar they will play new tracks from their forthcoming eighths album “Born In The Echoes” against a backdrop of visuals created by artist Adam Smith. The idea being that the audience can lose themselves in a hypnotic set.
As the most iconic synth pop group, it’s almost an honour to have the chance to see Duran Duran at Sónar 2015. With hits like “Girls on Film”, “Rio” and “A View to a Kill”, this quartet appeal to old and young, with nostalgic memories of listening to them in the back of your dad’s car in the 90s. Their fourteenth album is in the works with producers like Mark Ronson and Nile Rodgers as well as collaborations with Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Sex Pistols Steve Jones. Their debut at Sónar will give them a chance to show exactly why they are still as current as they were back in the day.
With her unique looks, you will recognise Britain’s FKA Twigs in a heartbeat. But it’s her cutting edge take on R&B that has music junkies hooked and has make her one of 2014 biggest rising artists.
Her dark electronica and pitch perfect vocals are hard to beat, plus as a singer, producer, instrumentalist and video producer, she is almost completely responsible for her own music and videos. She will give a performance for the closing night of Sónar like no other.
She’s the electronic music industry’s super mum and long kept friend of Sónar Festival. We all know her from her music show on BBC Radio 1 and she will undoubtably bring her best taste in music to Sonar 2015. She has a fondness of grime, dubstep and UK funky, which makes her unique live shows ones not to be missed, proving herself as a true pioneer in her genre.
Skepta & JME
Another strong addition to Sonar’s dedication to new waves in hop-hop, another Brit rapper with a reputation brings along his brother for Sonar 2015. Adenuga brothers Jamie and Joseph aka JME and Skepta will perform the hits that all began on a shared computer and ended with the longest lasting grime supergroup.
Written by: Samantha Coombes
Tags: A$AP Rocky, Annie Mac, Arca, Die Antwoord, DJ Fresh, FKA Twigs, Jamie xx, Jesse Kanda, Kasper Bjorke, Mumdance, Skepta, Skrillex, Skygaze, Sonar 2015, The Chemical Brothers Duran Duran, Torn Hawk, Xosar