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Hear the term “beat,” and immediately the image of a hipster pressing buttons in a DJ booth comes to mind. The rise of EDM along with unbridled new technology has fueled the trend of using synthesized beats across hip-hop, pop and other genres. And all of this happens without the use of real instruments. The artistry and talent is incredible, but at the end of the day, the beats are computer generated.

So we’re psyched to be seeing artists starting to bring back the real thing! Yes, they’re using live instruments in their beats. And you can feel a difference in their music–the authenticity of the sound, the return to that powerful, evocative imagery that only comes from a music artist playing an instrument.

Want to hear who’s going this direction with their beats? Here are FanLabel’s picks for artists who are returning to real:


Vincent Fenton or French Kiwi Juice (FKJ for short) is the ground-breaker of French House music. He incorporates saxophone, piano, and bass guitar into his beats giving a unique jazzy flare to the electronic genre. His musical talents allow him to encompass a lot of different genres in his music, including alternative and rock. We don’t see a lot of artists that are talented enough to fluidly work with so many different styles of music and make it into one vibey sound.


When Grant Richard Kwiecinski is in his EDM performing mode, he goes by stage name GRiZ. GRiZ is well known for always having his saxophone around his neck while at the soundboard. His sound is generally very busy, with many different pieces going on at once; for example he starts out with an electronic air and then surprises you with the jazz edge of the saxophone. Traditionally GRiZ’s more intense style of EDM is mixed with an element of funk, this genre is called electro-soul.

Anderson Paak:

Brandon Paak Anderson, aka Anderson Paak defines a new era of hip hop/R&B. You can feel Anderson’s music in a different way than other rappers. Why is this? Well, in addition to his unique voice, you can catch Anderson at a drum set while he’s singing. You can hear his iconic percussion beats in the background of most of his songs. It’s one thing to hear his music but it’s another to see him perform. Watch the clip below to see Anderson groovin’:


Steven Lee Bruner is a vocalist and guitarist who goes by Thundercat in the music world. You can hear the subtle guitar undertones in his songs that ultimately have an electronic feel. He is often put under the genre acid jazz, which includes elements of jazz, soul, funk and disco. To get a feel for this style of music listen to his album “Drunk.”


Masego (Micah Davis) plays the piano, saxophone and drums in addition to being an impressive vocalist. His voice is has a gentle electricity that overlays his beats, producing an R&B feel that makes any listener want to dance. We can really see his talents at work in the clip below featuring Masego and FKJ collaborating with the song “Tadow.”

Big Gigantic:

Big Gigantic is an EDM duo made up of saxophonist, Dominic Lolli and drummer, Jeremy Sulken. They produces catchy beats with a gradual build up to a bass drop/climax in their songs. Their instrumental skills contribute to their music but do not create a jazzy vibe in the same way that the other artists on this list do. They produce authentic beats with their instrumental skills they, but still create a sound that makes fans want to jump around.


FanLabel Staff

FanLabel Staff

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