11 DJs to See at EDC 2023: Gray Area's Picks for Don't-Miss Sets
May 15, 2023
8 min read
The ultimate raver reunion descends on Las Vegas in the form of the annual Electric Daisy Carnival May 19-21, 2023. And while Insomniac Events remind the fans that YOU are the most important headliner, myriad headlining artists are stepping behind the decks on more than 10 stages, from the massive mainstage Kinetic Field to the smallest art cars throughout the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The team at Gray Area has compiled our picks for don’t-miss DJ sets during the 2023 edition of EDC Las Vegas, celebrating 30 years of being “wide awake”!
Ben UFO (courtesy)
1. Ben UFO
Hailing from the celebrated U.K. rave culture, an amalgamation of electronic music influences punctuates the genre-blurring productions of Ben UFO. From a blending of bass music to techno, house, and more, Ben UFO co-founded Hessle Audio with Pearson Sound and Pangaea. Wowing the world for over 15 years, Ben pairs modern sensibilities with four-on-the-floor and percussive rhythms while working in weird and wonky surprises that never fail to delight international dancefloors. His reach extends even further across the airwaves via BBC Radio 1 Dance programs “The Residency” and “Essential Mix," Rinse FM, and more. Check out his latest offerings on SoundCloud, then head over to his 12 a.m. Saturday set at the Bionic Jungle—the newest new addition to the EDC experience—for “a journey deep into the wild with a carefully selected roster of house artists” at a “small but mighty stage.”
Christopher Lawrence (courtesy)
2. Christopher Lawrence
If you’re not at Christopher Lawrence’s set, are you even really #TranceFamily? Peer-pressure your peeps to be front-and-center when the dance music legend and Pharmacy label boss returns to EDC. With more awards, honors, and accolades over 20+ years than we have space to list, the underground vibes will be curated to perfection. Lawrence has garnered the unwavering respect of legions of DJs and fans worldwide, from the biggest festivals to international listeners of his long-running “Rush Hour” radio show and mix compilations. And if you’re a trance n00b, all are always welcome to the fam, and we guaranteed you’ll get a life-changing lesson from a true master of the genre. Add him to your schedule on the Insomniac app from 3-4:15 am Friday late night at the Parliament 2.0 30th Anniversary Art Car.
When we realized Capozzi was already an artist we know and love, adding her to our picks of sets to check out was a no-brainer. ICYMI, Jordan Capozzi already has a loyal following for her 420-friendly rap persona as Lil Debbie, but her range for bringing beats now extends to her house music alias Capozzi. A black-and-white, stripped-down contrast to her colorful alter-ego, Capozzi has solidified her studio skills spanning a gamut of bass-forward house sounds that all deliver on the dancefloor. Catch her on the last night of EDC from 8-9:30 p.m. at the Cosmic Meadow, then 10-11 p.m. at the Allegiant Rave Hangar (located in the Carnival Square area of the festival grounds).
An impressive production resume that spans the gamut of go-to record labels, Kyiv’s Iryna Shvydka, aka 8Kays, creates a delicate dance of melodic grooves. She’s caught the attention of heavy hitters such as Above & Beyond’s Ajnunabeats, Renaissance Records, Booka Shade’s Blaufiield Music imprint, and Eleatics Records, with her latest remix of Woo York’s “Samum” now out via Watergate Records. Show your support for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and fill the air with love for her home during 8Kay’s set over at the Quantum Valley stage on Sunday evening from 8-9 p.m.
Eli Brown (courtesy)
5. Eli Brown
With a foundation of electronic music education thanks to the legendary Bristol, U.K. scene and related bass music roots, Eli Brown broke onto the scene in 2016 with his dark dancefloor destroyers. Fans of Eli Brown include legends such as Adam Beyer, Alan Fitzpatrick, Carl Cox, Green Velvet, and Solardo. The Arcane label boss is a multi-honored producer with multiple releases earning the “Hottest Record in the World” distinction from the BBC’s resident tastemaker, Annie Mac. As a primer to the Eli Brown sound, check out notable tracks such as “XTC,” (produced with Solardo) the Moving EP collab with Calvin Harris, and “Killer,” released on Polydor Records. Check out his latest release, “Be the One,” wherever you stream tunes and see him IRL on Friday night at the Neon Garden from 10-11:30 p.m.
Hannah Wants (courtesy)
6. Hannah Wants
No stranger to Las Vegas audiences, Hannah Wants previously spun in Sin City during a residency at Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub on the Strip and will return to the real city that never sleeps for a Stereo Bloom stage set from 9:15-10:50 p.m. Sunday night. Also a previous regular at Chicago’s famed Spy Bar, the self-taught seasoned spinner has spent more than a decade in the scene. Her brand of house music draws upon her U.K. roots that were dominated by garage, four-on-the-floor, and bassline house, though she strives never to be restricted to a defined genre. Check out her latest single, “The One” (featuring ARA), now available on Defected.
Kaleena Zanders (courtesy)
7. Kaleena Zanders
Even if you don’t yet know Kaleena Zanders' music, you’ve likely heard her productions after her empowering anthem “Stronger Than I’ve Ever Been” was chosen for Toyota’s 2018 Super Bowl commercial. It was also a go-to track during the 2018 Winter Olympics. Her release "Set Me Off" became the theme song to MLB Network's High Heat. The immensly talented Zanders has been compared to such soulful songstresses as Robin S, CeCe Peniston, and even Whitney Houston while channeling and paying homage to house music’s LGBTQ+ origins. Zanders has two set times on the docket Sunday night (Stereo Bloom 7-8:15 p.m. and Titanic’s End Art Car 2-3 a.m.), so be sure to swing by at least one and check out her chart-topping soulful sounds like “V I B R A T I O N” with Shift K3Y.
Mike Dunn (courtesy)
8. Mike Dunn
Pay your proper dues with your presence at the set of a true turntable OG, Mike Dunn. Hailing from the home of house in Chicago, Dunn honed his chops spinning alongside other legends (and good friends) Armando Gallop, Ron Hardy, and Larry Heard as one of the Chosen Few DJs. His first track, “Dance You Mutha,” hit the scene in 1987, followed by numerous house and techno tunes infused with hip-hop notes, including “Let It Be House,” “Magic Feet,” and “Face the Nation,” plus a Defected Records rerelease of “God Made Me Phunky,” thus wooing a new generation of fans. Dig into the crates with one of the Chosen Few DJs when Dunn digs deep at the Bionic Jungle stage Friday night from 2-4 a.m.
Miss Dre (courtesy)
9. Miss Dre
Fresh off the release of her new single on Insomniac Records, “Holla,” catch that tune and more courtesy of Drea Kaplan, aka Miss Dre. With support from other fab females spinning at EDC, such as Anabel Englund and J. Worra, the Bay Area’s Miss Dre is making her mark and making all the right moves as a house music triple-threat: singer, DJ, and producer. Heavy hitters have even directly tapped her to support their shows, including Justin Martin, Prok & Fitch, Walker & Royce, Sacha Robotti, Ardalan, and more. You’ve got two chances to see Miss Dre and send those cellphones-in-the-air EDC-sponsored Snaps at both the Stereo Bloom stage Friday evening from 7-8 p.m. and the Allegiant Rave Hangar later in the night from 2-3 a.m. (located in the Carnival Square area of the festival grounds).
The multi-talented Miami native Nala has wowed the world of electronic music thanks to her blend of influences ranging from house and indie dance to electro and breaks paired with live “Riot Grrrl-style” vocals. The Claude VonStroke protégé has followed in her mentor’s footsteps in creating a tastemaking record label dubbed Mi Domina—a femme-dominant electronic imprint. Nala’s also currently up for the 2023 “Breakthrough Producer” award in DJ Mag’s Best of North America competition. Having previously played numerous top festivals including Ultra, Coachella, Electric Forest, and Electric Zoo, she’ll take on one of her biggest gigs yet at the expansive Cosmic Meadow stage on Saturday night from 7-8 p.m.
Fresh off the release of the new Shield EP on May 5, the U.K.’s Salute will bring a slew of originals to EDC 2023. From bumping selections supported by a who’s-who of dance music (including Disclosure full-on fangirling on Salute’s Insta posts), the Rinse FM resident also recently dropped the highly awaited banger “Peach” with Sammy Virji. Salute brings his “pretty people music” to EDC on Saturday night from 9:30-10:30 p.m. at the Bionic Jungle stage, that’s shaping up to be one of our definitive destinations for numerous ways to dig deeper at this year’s festival.
Looking for even more tunes to get hyped for Electric Daisy Carnival 2023? Check out the official festival Spotify playlist by Insomniac.