When Beats Aren't Enough: Producers Singing on Their Own Tracks

DJs are known to speak with their hands. Producers, on the other hand, tend to create what they can't express through words with their sounds, and in

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Complex Original

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DJs are known to speak with their hands. Producers, on the other hand, tend to create what they can't express through words with their sounds, and in the electronic music realm, the weight of the music can render words useless. That's not to say that producers aren't using their voices... it's quite the opposite. Kaskade recently got a Grammy nomination for "Atmosphere," a track that was so personal that he lent his own voice to the song. He's not alone, though; many producers over a number of electronic genres have stepped up to the mic to express themselves vocally. This is nowhere near a complete record of a producer using their own voice on their songs, but it's a great look at the many ways their vocals have been incorporated.


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Kaskade's been known as a master craftsman when it comes to mash-ups, production, and DJing, but hell, not too many producers can say that they have Grammy nominations for tracks that they've lent their own vocals to. With "Atmosphere," Kaskade enters that realm.

Maya Jane Coles

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With the release of her debut album Comfort, Maya Jane Coles finally sang on her own tracks. Though she had never done so prior to the release, the album represented MJC's first opportunity to try it out in a formal setting. Though she isn't doing it live (to our knowledge), she's definitely producing with her own vocals.


James Blake

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This one should be obvious. We don't want to say if James is a producer first or a vocalist first, but he loves experimentation, and has no problem twisting original vocals into original production.


Alvin Risk

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There are mixed emotions about the singing Alvin does into the microphone in his live sets. It is a display of character, and since a lot of the vocals, including the singing in "Skyclad," are actually him, it makes sense he would perform live. And for those that remember, Risk joined Zedd and Foxes during their live performance of "Clarity" on Letterman.


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Dillinja has been known to find samples from a number of sources, and as far back as the legendary Talkin' Headz documentary, he'd been known to throw his own vocals into his tracks when he can't get a vocalist in the studio, be it for a quick snippet or a longer piece.



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Black Moth Super Rainbow frontman and solo artist Tobacco isn't known in the same way a lot of the other names on this list are. His particularly low-key profile has afforded Tobacco an extreme creative freedom as he routinely uses his own vocals on his tracks - even if through a vocooder 99% of the time. His psychedelic sound, and that of BMSR as well, is characterized by analog electronic equipment and always tickles. The vocals give it more of an indie vibe instead of a straight up abstract electronica affair and Tobacco does a great job mediating it all.

Daft Punk

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While this isn't the norm, Thomas and Guy-Man (well, mostly Thomas) haven't shied away from hopping on their tracks and adding their own voices to the mix, vocoders and all. It's an awesome cycle: androids dripping soul back into music via their vocals, which in themselves are manipulated via machinery.



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ill-esha spent her formative DJ years mixing and rapping/singing over her tracks, and a number of her latest tunes have featured her vocals on her tracks. For a genre that doesn't give the proper respect to females who are DJing or producing, it's always awesome to see a true triple threat.


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Few realize this bass music juggernaut has sang on a handful of his own album tunes, and closed out Kastle's album with a vocal gem as well.


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Borgore spent a number of his earlier releases rapping the intros to his tracks; most of his lyrics revolved around reckless sexual exploits, which fits his character to a T.



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Many of you (should) know that TC comes from the Dillinja school. He wears his influence from Dillinja on his sleeve, and in doing so, hasn't been afraid to lend vocals to his own material, ranging from the quick chants or sounds he throws in to doing more singing.


Ali Love

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With one of the most recognizable male voices in the new deep house scene, Ali Love's pipes can be heard on tracks from his own projects (Infinity Ink, Hot Natured) as well as Justice's "Civilization."

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