EDM.com Spotlight

EDM.com Spotlight

EDM Unbuttoned EP02: Caribou

In this weekly series, EDM.com picks the best live acts working in electronic music today. These producers abstain from DJ sets and opt to use live and electronic instrumentation to give their performances a more grounded sound. From the saxophones heard by GRiZ and Big Gigantic to the rock-inspired sets from The Prodigy, this series explores all types of live electronic music. Read our pick for this week's best live act below:

Best Live Act of the Week: Caribou 

Photo Credit: The Guardian 

Canadian producer Dan Snaith goes by many names, but his most renown music is created under his Caribou alias. Caribou gains more recognition with each album release and his 2014 album Our Love elevated the producer from underground sensation to widely-known maestro. Caribou initially started out as Manitoba, but a musician by the name of Richard "Handsome Dick" Manitoba threatened to sue Snaith if he continued to release music under the Manitoba name. Snaith renamed to Caribou, changing the name to all of his music and officially unveiling the name in 2005 with his album The Milk of Human Kindness

In the last five years, Caribou has achieved considerable popularity. His previous two albums Swim and Our Love lit up the blogosphere, and his alias Daphni appealed to fans of more club-centered dance music. 2014 was Caribou's biggest year yet, with singles such as "Can't Do Without You" and "Our Love" crossing over to the mainstream electronic world, and his 2014 Essential Mix being selected as "Essential Mix of the Year." While opening rigs for bands such as Radiohead proved to be helpful, Caribou's headlining tour in the latter half of 2014 sold out shows in several huge markets. 

While Caribou produces his music electronically in his studio, his live show manifests in the form of a four-piece band. Unlike other producers who slowly incorporated live instruments into their sets, Caribou set out to make a live electronic band from the beginning. Initial members included Born Ruffians member Andy Lloyd and Peter Mitton, but the current lineup consists of Snaith, Ryan Smith, Brad Weber and John Schmersal. The four-piece group takes up the traditional roles of a band, including lead guitar, bass, and drums, with Snaith manning the keyboard and taking up vocal duties. 

Snaith is known for singing on most of his Caribou songs, and he brings his soft voice to the forefront of Caribou's live show. While the group derives their setlist only of material from Snaith's previous two albums, the live instrumentation and Snaith's vocals bring power to the live renditions of the songs. The band also extends the songs live, taking inspiration from jam bands and their instrumental improvisation. In some cases, Our Love guest singer Jessy Lanza will come out during the band's performance of "Second Chance", bringing all the original track's elements to a crescendo. 

Caribou represents a rare beast: one producer in the studio but four band members for intricate live performances. Caribou fans can still catch the band on tour, as the group will tour the world this spring and summer. Caribou will also play a number of festivals, notably Coachella and Bonnaroo. Snaith's festival sets may very well include some additional guest performers from his albums, which would only bring his live show more attention. 

Cover Photo Credit: Backstage Rider 

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