EDM.com Spotlight

EDM.com Spotlight

10 Artists That Played In Rock Bands Before Going EDM

Last year, we made a list of "Acts Who Rocked Before They Raved." It includes all the artists we've come to known well that started their music careers in live bands before they went electronic: Skrillex (singer for punk band From First to Last), Bassnectar (guitar and singer for metal band Pale Existence), Knife Party/Pendulum (Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen played in metal band Xygen) Borgore (drummer for death metal band Shabira) and Steve Aoki (singer for hardcore band The Machine Kills).

Now we're back with 10 more! Check out these producers and DJs who started off in bands before making their way to the world of dance music.


Jesse Keeler and Alex Puodziukas, aka Al-P, performed with other groups before they were the hockey mask-wearing, electro house duo known as MSTRKRFT. Keeler was a part of multiple punk projects including Black Cat #13, Femme Fatale and - most notably - he was the bassist of the Canadian rock duo Death From Above 1979. Friend Al-P actually produced albums for all of these projects, while his former project was an electro-pop group Girlsareshort.

2. Bro Safari

Born in Rome, Italy and raised in Atlanta, GA, Nicholas Weiller began playing music early, taking up everything from guitar and bass to clarinet and flute. Drawn to pop punk, Weiller played in a few bands before he broke out his trap, moombahton and drum and bass productions. Long-standing fans know that he also played in a live band and production hybrid group called Ludachrist. Read on...

3. Kill the Noise

If you didn't already know where we were going with this one... Jake Stanczak was also in Ludachrist with his buddy Weiller. The group performed with live guitar, vocals and midi controllers. In 2010, they released their second album "Talk Is Cheap." Give it a listen for yourself below...

4. Ghastly

Known for his distinct future bass sound and energetic performances, David Crow may have grown up on a farm in Arizona, but he's know a producer on the rise in the hotbed of Los Angeles. Before he was doing big collabs and releases with labels like Dim Mak and OWSLA, Crow played in the metal band The Irish Front.

5. Dirtyphonics

When Parisian electronic music trio Charly, PitchIn and Pho talk about their beginnings and influences, they usually mention the fact that they started their musical journeys in metal bands. This obviously explains their signature metal-infused bass sound. While we don't have band names or clips from their early metal experimentations, listening to tracks like "Power Now" and "Walk the Fire" are enough proof.

6. Bobby Duque

While he's often compared to his biological brother Sonny Moore, Bobby is well on his way to paving his own unique path, as a soloist and as one-half of the duo FYER. Duque and his bandmate Gabriel Guardian are known for their high energy, rock-infused electronic music that combines a variety of subgenres and features live instrumentation. But before Duque began touring the world and collabing with some of today's biggest producers, he was the vocalist for the rock band Little Sleep.

7. The Bloody Beetroots

The brain behind The Bloody Beetroots and "The Real Church of Noise" collaborative platform, Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo may be a successful electro house producer but he's a punk rocker through and through. He's got a tattoo on his chest of his birth year, 1977, which is also the year punk rock was born. Before he launched The Bloody Beetroots and teamed up with Tommy Tea and Death Crew 77, Rifo played in punk bands presumably taking on different roles as a multi-instrumentalist. No clips survive from his first punk days or they have yet to surface, but this collab with the Swedish hardcore punk band Refused from 2011 points to his roots.

8. Mantis

The Atlanta bass duo comprised of Taylor Scott and Paul Ollinger took the natural turn from metal and deathcore to dubstep when they formed Mantis in early 2011. Most notably, Paul Ollinger was the bassist for the still-touring metalcore band Attila from 2008 to 2010. Since Attila formed in 2015, the deathcore band has released 6 full length albums. During his stint, the band released their sophomore album Soundtrack to a Party.

9. Sullivan King

Based in Los Angeles, Sullivan King is making a name for himself as he combines his heavy metal-styled, guitar-shredding skills with his blazing bass productions. As an accomplished guitarist and producer, he's released under Excision’s Rottun Recordings and Borgore's Buygore Records. Back in July, he became the first electronic artist to sign a sponsorship with Schecter Guitars. Sullivan first played in a band called True Colors. Check out the Schecter Guitars video below to witness his wicked guitar playing as well as clips from his raging live show.

10. Adventure Club

In almost every interview with this EDM duo, the media tries to ask about their early days of playing in punk rock bands, specifically the name(s) of their first band(s). And in every reply, Christian Srigley and Leighton James say "we're not going to give that out" or "you have to work harder for that." Needless to say, the international DJ duo has done a good job of keeping this information under wraps. When they were around 8 or 9 years old, James picked up piano and Srigley picked up guitar and they met in high school and formed a band, which they describe in a playboy interview as "screamo-esque/pop punk/emo." Let's keep pushing these guys till they finally spill the beans and someone leaks an old video!

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