Hijacked Festival’s eclectic, progressive bill is packed with names from the underground to the arena. Luckily we drafted in some incredibly talented, impeccably well-informed and impossibly sexy music writers who are definitely not members of the Exetera team to cherry-pick the acts you can’t afford to miss. You can even find out when and where these selected hijackers are scheduled to perform with the fancy new Hijacked App. So grab your pen/iPhone/quill and make a note of the following:
It’s a good time to see Dark Sky. Like many contemporary artists, the London production outfit are on a mission to mint a distinctive sound in a morphing and elusive post-dubstep landscape. After syncing their talents at college in 2009, Matt Benyayer, Thomas Edwards and Carlo Anderson have evolved into a globetrotting triumvirate and continue to release genre-bending tracks with labels Mister Saturday Night, 50WEAPONS, Black Acre and Ninja Tune. Their debut album imagin, released on Monkeytown Records, was met with critical acclaim, referencing everything from hardcore 90s sounds to the garage-tinged, retro house currently in vogue.
Expect a similarly versatile set at Hijacked: dynamic structures, electro-slanted slippery synths and snaking basslines mean that Dark Sky will offer a more emotional take on the testosterone-saturated bass and rigid percussion that tends to define a lot of dance tracks. Above all, the trio’s subtle genre shifts and rattling subs are sure to provide a brief but welcome moment of immersive downtime in the day’s schedule. Contemplative, moody but perfectly calibrated, Dark Sky are not to be missed.
Bok Bok (Alex Sushon) and his curiously named imprint Night Slugs blossomed from the club parties that he and fellow label-mate L-Vis 1990 held in the nation’s capital, founding what would become one of the country’s most forward-thinking and innovative collectives. Night Slugs continue to push the boundaries of what constitutes “club music” – both in terms of tonal and aesthetic output. This journey augmented an exploration through an expansive range of sounds, from homegrown influences to further flung ones, hybridising all of them into something completely new and distinct.
Bok Bok’s productions blend grime-esque constructions with his label’s mantra of creating innovative tracks by borrowing from a variety of different: hip-hop, Chicago house and techno coalesce into bass-heavy compositions strictly designed for the dancefloor. This framework leaves ample room for experimentation while ensuring tracks follow the club-driven direction that birthed Night Slugs in the first place. Crushing bass, low-ends, futuristic synths and elements of grime, garage and R’n’B will likely define Bok Bok’s set, but prepare to have your expectations challenged as Sushon pumps out a progressive soundtrack in Powderham Castle’s grounds.
Eli & Fur
Despite only breaking into the industry in 2012, Eliza Noble and Jennifur Skillman AKA Eli and Fur have managed to collaborate with Shadow Child, release on Defected (a label almost synonymous with house as a genre) and release their own EP in the space of a few years. Their meteoric rise comes as no surprise, with both producers graduates from Hurtwood House – a performing arts and music college where the duo would meet and begin their journey to the forefront of electronic music. Recent landmarks include a tipping by Beatport as 2015 Artists to Watch and earning the support of Radio 1’s Pete Tong.
Eli and Fur create infinitely danceable house productions, using their songwriting and educated background to create anthems that draw from classic synth-pop to more modern and contemporary genres. Catchy melodies and ethereal vocals provide the backbone to their tracks, influenced by old-school Chicago house offset with elements from contemporary garage and drum and bass sounds. 2015 is set to be a massive year for the duo: they are set to tour internationally, party in Ibiza and perform closer to home at Creamfields, Secret Garden Party and, of course, our very own Hijacked Festival. Expect an infectious set defined by outright bangers.
After providing a storming performance at last years’ Hijacked, Benedict Jackson has chalked up some huge slots at some of the UK’s most renowned clubs and festivals as he continues to release material on Real Nice Records. For those of you who aren’t familiar with his music, Jackson’s SoundCloud account provides a wealth of remixes for you to sink your teeth into in the final run up to the weekend. On the day itself, expect a crowd-pleasing set saturated with a distinct upfront (deep) house style combined with classic and cutting edge disco sounds. When planning your itinerary for the day we urge you to make sure you take time out to Benedict Jackson. Just remember to bring your dancing shoes.
One third of pioneering dubstep trio Magnetic Man, Arthur Smith is somewhat of a legend in the genre. Having co-founded Big Apple Records, a pivotal rendezvous for some of dubstep and garage’s most influential figures, it’s safe to say that Artwork has rubbed shoulders with many of Britain’s bass music heavyweights and facilitated the rise of some of the country’s youngest and brightest talents. After joining forces with Skream and Benga, Magnetic Man took the UK by storm. Beginning as an anonymous act at renowned night Forward, the group set the scene alight during a whirlwind period in which the trio charted in the UK top 10, signed a deal with Sony and released a debut album in the space of a few mammoth years.
These days, Artwork keeps a fairly low-key attitude towards his own releases, but they are by no means inconsequential. His earlier work, under the pseudonym “Menta,” saw collaborations with other Hijacked headliner and garage mainstay Ms. Dynamite as well as drum-and-bass/breakbeat producer Zinc, while Smith’s “Grain” alias was responsible for a massive remix of Midland’s “Trace” in 2014. Artwork might have initially gained recognition for his dubstep and garage productions, but his selections span a much wider spectrum of genres. Expect to hear anything in his sets, from minimal Berlin techno to popular house smashers and old-school garage to grime remixes, spanning almost two decades of musical knowledge and experience. Whatever Arthur Smith has planned for his Hijacked set, have no doubt that you will be in for an eclectic mix of familiar and obscure with something to excite even the most seasoned of listeners.