A Collective Updating Neo-soul, Streamlining Hip-hop and Funkifying EDM


Kyo Ken

As of this spring, Kenny Carpenter, known among the Northern Natives as Kyo Ken, is a new graduate of the UW’s Foster School of Business, with a double major in entrepreneurship and marketing. The eclectic producer is also a multi-instrumentalist, incorporating guitar and piano into his jazzy, sun-dappled tracks.


With Shayhan Mashayekh on beats and occasional vocals and Jared Rubens on production, Soultanz slots into the Flying Lotus brand of beatmaking—a loping, headnodic style that starts with dusty drums, incorporates jazzy horns, orchestral strings and international flourish and ends up at a funky, futuristic fusion.


Originally hailing from California, Chris Dom, aka CiDi, constructs high-gloss, neo-trap bangers that are as timely as they are addictive. CiDi’s SoundCloud is stacked with his own productions alongside a slew of his remixes and flips of other online hitmakers.


He might be wearing overalls onstage, but the singer known as Mista DC—born David Chaney—is more than Northern Natives’ charismatic mascot; he’s essentially point man and featured vocalist. And for good reason: His voice is a nimble instrument, swaggering and vulnerable and comical all at once.

Sendai Era

 The duo of MC Era and producer Sendai Mike shears the corners off of EDM, R&B and hip-hop, emerging with their own elegant style of dreamy, sensual soul. One of Northern Natives’ most enthralling live acts, their new single “Waves” is a celebration of immigrant ingenuity

Samurai Del

As the founder of Northern Natives, Alex “Samurai Del” Lawrence provides the spiritual glue and ambitious hustle that binds these disparate, music-obsessed 20-somethings. He’s also a masterful producer in his own right, a student of J Dilla comfortable manipulating any form of music—as long as it bumps.

Illustrations by Stevie Van Bronkhorst