10 New Artists You Need to Know: August 2014

Meet the rising stars of rock, EDM, country, R&B and more acts shaping your tomorrow

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Big Data
10
Brendan Walter2/10

Big Data

Sounds Like: MGMT if they were paranoid androids

For Fans Of: Phantogram, Phoenix, Ratatat

Why You Should Pay Attention: As of last summer, New York-born and Brooklyn-based musician Alan Wilkis was working in music licensing by day and making tracks on nights and weekends, self-releasing his electronic-tinged rock under his own name. At a friend's wedding, he met someone who worked in information architecture and kept talking about "big data" and the name stuck. A fortuitous meeting with Rochester, New York's Joywave led Wilkis and vocalist Daniel Armbruster to work on music together. Obsessed with how life in the internet age leads to paranoia and surveillance, Big Data also teamed up with designer Rajeev Basu to create Facehawk, an interactive music video that hijacks your Facebook account to the strain of the group's breakout single "Dangerous." Thanks to an extreme, trenchant and borderline NSFW video that's racked up over a million YouTube views, the song soared to the top of the Alternative Nation charts on Sirius and is now the Number One song on the Billboard Alternative chart. This month, they made their late night debut on Seth Meyers.

They Say: "On the 'Dangerous' video, we worked with a horror movie special effects guy whose trick to making something stuff look really gross is to put raw bacon on the surface," says Wilkis. "The first proper head explosion is covered with raw bacon with fake blood poured on it. The first girl headbutts it and gets bacon slime all over her. At video's end, they make out and the second girl was vegan and totally grossed out by the taste of raw bacon." A hit video also means that Wilkis has been traveling like crazy. "I've been on 11 planes in 13 days," he says. "I went to L.A. to try and finish the Big Data album. I also DJed in Vegas at a huge hacker convention called Def Con. I spoke on a panel to youth hackers, half talking about music technology and half about what my favorite hockey team was."

Hear for Yourself: Big Data's infectious, Facebook-hacking hit "Dangerous." By Andy Beta

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