The outpouring of help and support to the Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded in late February has been truly astonishing thus far, both in Europe and abroad. With round-the-clock asylum centers set up in Poland, Bulgaria, Czechia and Romania, donation centers for food, clothes, personal products et cetera trucking supplies into Ukraine daily and thousands of citizens opening their homes to asylum seekers in neighboring countries, everyone has shifted into help mode as quickly as possible.
There have even been stories of people renting AirB&Bs in Ukraine with no intention to visit just so the owners could use the money and others sending Cryptocurrency to friends to convert in both Ukraine and Russia as banks and financial institutions like Visa and Mastercard level economic sanctions at the area. But if you’re a bit farther away or don’t have as many resources to give, how can one help the effort? The answer, as is so often the case, is music.
Musicians in the EDM and bass music scenes stepped up to keep the whole world entertained during COVID and also raised massive amounts of money for charities who were trying to help those in need during the crisis. While we’re just on the cusp of that nightmare ending, artists have stepped up once again, even those in the embattled areas and who have already lost everything to shelling from Putin’s forces in their own towns or have been conscripted into military service, to make music and donate the proceeds to help. It’s truly inspiring, so the least us fans can do is to listen, go to events and purchase said music, no? Luckily, there’s no shortage of artists who are doing charity releases for Ukraine and also those who are quietly donating all their proceeds to charity. There’s almost no end to the different ways we as the EDM community can help. The following list is just a few of them.
Ukraine Support Compilation Albums
Right now this is probably the most popular way to give to various charities supporting the Ukraine; loads of labels, promo companies and even individual people are putting together bit comps with big names and raising big bucks. Here’s a few we like, but check your favorite label or artist and chances are they’ll be involved in one of these:
ШЩЦ/SHITS Various Artists 01
ШЩЦ literally translates to “Shits” and is a new label out of Ukraine who decided to dedicate their first compilation album, originally released in 2019, to the defense effort in Ukraine, doing a revenue match program and thus 200% of proceeds going to the Ukraine Civil Defense Fund. The limited edition DVD is currently sold out but those wanting to help can purchase the streaming album, which features tracks from 23 Ukraine-based artists of varying genres from hip hop to experimental electronica. The label is also selling t-shirts whose proceeds will also go to the same fund. The purchase option on the ШЩЦ Bandcamp page is name your own price, so you can give literally any amount and get some sick music in return. The label also lists their email on the site so if you’re interested in inquiring after the DVD or other ways to help, they can be contacted there.
Together With Ukraine
This is likely one of the biggest drum & bass compilations ever, with a whopping 136 tracks from 149 artists and featuring some cheeky alt bass music from acts like Subp Yao, Modestep and Om Unit, this incredibly creative and diverse album came together incredibly fast. This hyperspeed coordination was spearheaded by two promoters: Rhys Bainham and Vlad Baremchuk and the mega-album released less than a week after the first invasion. It has already raised over 100,000 dollars and all proceeds here go directly to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, which desperately needs all the help it can get tending to wounded and displaced families. When purchased on the Together With Ukraine Bandcamp page, the digital album comes with mp3 or wav downloads and 30 pieces of original cover art from project art director Uno. The whole thing’s only £12, so more than worth it.
Fundraiser V/A – We Are Invincible
Ukrainian dance music label Corridor Audio have put together a compilation album made up entirely of tracks from Ukrainian artists. Released just before the first Russian invasion, the label decided to re-brand the comp and dedicate all proceeds to helping families and charities affected by the war. Mostly house and straight beat-based, this compilation showcases the extraordinary talent of Ukrainian artist with loads of minimal, experimental and techno style that many EDM fans outside of Ukraine and Eastern Europe may not be privy to. This compilation also seems to be very purposefully arranged, telling a story and taking the listener on a sonic journey, a’la all the best experimental-tinged electronica albums. Now it also tells the story of the Ukrainian peoples resilience and the importance of saving the precious art of this country. The 24-track album can be purchased on Corridor’s Bandcamp page.
РАЗОМ ЗА УКРАЇНУ/Together for Ukraine
Not to be confused with Together With Ukraine, this compilation is another huge one put together quickly from Kiev-based label Standard Deviation and the somewhat clandestine “Chernobyl-based” imprint, Mystictrax. While it’s unlikely this Mystictrax is actually operating out of a “closed scientific laboratory in Chernobyl” and “studying the paranmal audio activity around the phenomenon of black holes,” a lot of the music on this comp certainly sounds like it comes from somewhere equally chaotic and dystopian. Given the state of affairs around the area at the moment, it’s almost believable.
In Together for Ukraine, we get our first tastes of the erstwhile gabber genre, more crazy experimental east-of-Urals funk and some really magical house tracks. In addition to that, with this compilation we see our first active donations to LGBT causes in Ukraine. If Russia wins this fight, the LGBT community in Ukraine will be under serious threat, so it’s great to see Standard Deviation and Mystictrax coming with this level of foresight. Revenue from this and other releases by both labels will go to The ‘Return Alive’ Fund, helping at the Ukrainian front, National Bank of Ukraine Fundraising Account for Humanitarian Assistance, ‘Ukraine Pride’ Fund for LGBTQIA+ soldiers and LGBTQIA+ people affected by the war and ‘Голос Дітей’ Fund, helping children affected by the war. The album is purchasable on Standard Deviation’s Bandcamp page.
EXHALE: Together for Ukraine!
For an offering a little more recognizable to US fans, rave techno goddess and Exhale Records label head Amelie Lens rallied her troops to drop EXHALE: Together for Ukraine! Just a couple of weeks ago. Proceeds here go directly to the Ukranian Ministry of Social Policy, the government body channeling as many funds a resources as they can to the most affected areas of the conflict. This album, like all Lens’s work, is unsurprisingly and unapologetically ravey and techno-tinged, featuring tracks from herself, Ahl Iver, Sarah Landry, Nico Moreno and Frazi,er, to name just a few. This album also took the time to really conscript tracks that were inspired by the heavy energy of this conflict, so no punches pulled here. Just raw, rave techno and an intention to help in the best way musicians like Lens know how. EXHALE: Together for Ukraine! can be purchased on Bandcamp or Soundcloud, where there’s also a link to donate directly to the fund.
Individual Artists Supporting Ukrainian Charities
While the big compilation albums are getting a lot of press and raising loads of money for the effort of helping Ukranian citizens, there’s loads of individual artists who are trying to champion the cause in their own ways as well. Every little bit counts, as they say, and in the case of these bits, we can discover some cool new music while helping out. Once again, there are too many to list, but here are five cool artists donating time and money to the humanitarian effort in Ukraine and you can too, just by listening.
Rezz and Subtronics – Puzzle Box
Bet you didn’t know that both these EDM monsters are Ukrainian. Terror techno queen Rezz and Cyclops label head Subtronics teamed up for this track to raise awareness and funds for the charity Voices of Children Ukraine. The track was released as a joint effort on Cyclops and Deadbeats in early March along with a limited edition t-shirt on the Deadbeats website (currently sold out). Rezz and Subtronics apparently teased the collab prior to the invasion of Ukraine but quickly made it a statement piece for the conflict, and its creepy, surreal, Saw-like vibes seem to fit perfectly with the surreal nature of the situation in the embattled EU state. Link for the t-shirt is listed above in case Deadbeats decide to do a second run, and fans can get the track here or donate directly to Voices of Children here.
Rido – Can You See Me Breathing
The Czech D&B producer, composer and renaissance man known as Rido tends to march to the beat of his own very well-crafted and syncopated drums, so he’s deigned to release his charity track on his own Bandcamp so he can be sure the funds go to where he feels they’re needed most. “Can You See Me Breathing” is a heart-wrenchingly beautiful, classical violin-laced track Rido whipped up right after the first invasion. Purchase proceeds go to the Czech organization Člověk v tísni – SOS Ukraine and the track is listed for €2 euros on Rido’s Bandcamp, so it’s a very affordable donation as well.
VovKING – Futurist Drum & Bass Sample Pack
This one’s for the producers! Ukraine- based D&B producer and one half of the melodic and dancy RAM, Viper and Bad Taste duo Tapolsky and VovKING has decided to donate all proceeds of his latest royalty-free sample pack to charities helping humanitarian efforts in the Ukraine. His promo company even waived their fees to make sure as much money goes to help as possible. Since going solo, VovKING’s stuff has become more and more experimental and futuristic, so this big pack of sample stems promises endless possibilities. Get it here.
Sally C – Big Saldo’s Chunkers 002 EP
Berlin-based house artist Sally C was getting ready to release the second installment of her Big Saldo’s Chunkers series of EPs when the conflict in Ukraine began. The first one in 2020 was a massive success, to Sally C decided the best way she could help was to donate proceeds to charity from this second instalment, which releases this month on April 22. With the vinyl and CD copies already sold out three weeks before the drop, it seems she was right that this release would generate a lot of aid money. Proceeds from this funky house EP will go to the community fund being raised by her favorite Kiev club, ∄ and to Bridges Over Berlin, a charity in Germany helping LGBTQIA+, BiPOC and other marginalized asylum seekers from Ukraine. Pre-order the digital Big Saldo’s Chunkers 002 on her Bandcamp page.
Erica Synths Donating from Hardware Purchases
There are almost endless labels and artists donating their proceeds to the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, but Latvian premium synth manufacturer Eric Synths has heeded the call as well, having generated over $50,000 for aid organizations as of the end of March. If you’re looking for some new gear, Erica happens to be one of the best synth companies for EDM out there, and what a bonus to be able to donate at the same time. If that weren’t enough, Erica’s efforts are partnered by Noise Engineering, so if you’re a producer you could potentially donate twice: once with your gear and once if you use Noize as you engineers. Talk about an efficient use of resources those of us in the music industry would use anyway. Noise and Erica’s efforts are part of a larger project called Musicians for Peace, which is sending donations to Stand With Ukraine though the Latvian website ziedot.lv and includes a number of modules on the Erica website. Noise will be matching donations up to $10,000.
Buy Ukrainan (or Russian)
If you’re like a lot of us and want to try to get as much help directly into the hands of Ukrainian artists who may be stuck in the conflict, some of whom, whilst still trying to gig and produce, are now actively enlisted in the military. Some are still trying to support their families who have fled to neighboring countries and some have even lost homes and loved ones to bombing.
It’s that real for some of our favorite EDM artists right now, and things are also quite dire for Russian artists. At this point with all the propaganda and misinformation tactics firing on both sides, it’s hard to make heads or tails of who supports Putin’s agenda, but many Russian artists do not, and since companies like Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, major banks and even smaller money transfer services like Wise and Revolut have pulled their business out of Russia as a form or economic sanction, artists who have nothing to do with Putin’s agenda are now locked out of their own money and they can’t directly ask for help due to the current controls on free speech in which, according to one Russian artist living outside of Russia, one can’t even say the word “war” without possibly being in trouble.
The following list includes some ways to get funds to both Ukranian and Russian artists who are struggling in the conflict by purchasing or supporting their music, however on the Russian side, we recommend not contacting artists who are living in Russia directly on platforms like Instagram or TikTok for their own safety and the safety of their families. For the Ukrainian artists and labels we’re listed, many of these are also in the category above of donating funds to charities, so if you’d like to know what you’re supporting, reaching out on social media or their Patreons is ok.
Pretty much since the conflict began, Bandcamp set up an open GoogleDocs spreadsheet of all the Ukranian artists who have online releases and resources that fans can donate to or purchase. This is the best place to listen to new music of all genres and buy Ukranian. Also anyone who knows of artists who need a hand is invited to add names and emails to the list. There’s some pretty cool stuff on here, both EDM and otherwise, and the admins of the spreadsheet are monitoring for authenticity. Check the whole list here. We’ve included a track below from one of our favorites on the list, experimental breakbeat/jungle/multigenre artist €omfortle$$.
This is one way to circumnavigate some of the tricky economic pratfalls of donating to struggling artists on both sides of Putin’s lines, as Patreon usually deposits directly into bank accounts, PayPals and even Crypto accounts. If you’ve been thinking of supporting a Ukranian or Russian artist’s Patreon, now’s the time to do it. Below are a few we know could use the help.
Teddy Killerz – Everyone’s favorite murderous plushie neuro trio is comprised of two members from Russia and one from Ukraine, so they’re in a very unique position but doing amazingly well at keeping up with gigs and content. They’re also working to help their other Ukrainian and Russian artist brethren as much as they can. If you’re a neurohead and want great content or merch, subscribe to one of the TK Patreon tiers here. Also be sure to check out their new album and podcast on Eatbrain.
Ukraine Dancing – This is a Patreon account that posts exclusive mixes, tracks and tutorials from a wealth of Ukranian dance artists and which has pledged to help bring awareness and donate proceeds to humanitarian efforts. Podcasts and other news assets are also on this account, so it’s a great place to get news from the front directly from a Ukranian source. Connected to the international KissFm radio show and podcast. Subscribe here.
Agressor Bunx – Gotta go neuro once again, and it’s no surprise, really. Neuro has always had a stronghold in Eastern Europe and Russia and of course the Ukranian brothers Agressor Bunx are among neuro fans’ faves. The AG boys have a unique feature on their page where they will offer feedback and help to aspiring producers on WIPs as well as exclusive mixes and loads of other goodies. Subscribe here and check out their most recent album below.
Crowdsourcing – This is where connecting with artists on social media might be something more actively-thinking fans can do. See if your favorite label is doing anything to help artists in the Ukraine or if artists have something up for themselves, and if not, anyone can start a GoFundMe. Here are a couple we found helping artists affected by or conscripted into the conflict:
Peace for Ukraine, a collective of musicians raising money for the charity Distasters Emergency Committee, based out of the UK. Read more and donate here.
Help Support Misplaced Ukranian Musicians, started by a classical pianist in Europe. Read more and donate here.
Events and Livestreams
Of course once of the most fun ways to help with the humanitarian needs in Ukraine and other affected areas is to go to events which are donating to the cause. There have already been a number of quite successful events held by the likes of DJ Mag in London Whole Festival in Berlin and Musicians United in Portland. Lots of artists, labels and promotions companies are also putting on livestreams so fans can donate directly while the livestream is happening, while Bandcamp and Beatport are gearing up for more discount donation days. These are just a few events around the world, but be sure to check what’s happening in your city and keep an eye out for more livestreams coming up from your favorite artists and labels.
Together With Ukraine, April 15:
Organized by the same promoters who put together the compilation album, the day-long Together With Ukraine event will feature artists from said album suck as London Elektricty, SCAR, Halogenix, Jumpin Jack Frost and Makoto, among others. Proceeds will be split between the Ukranian Red Cross Society and Music Saves UA charities. Tickets are pretty reasonable for such a big lineup and can be purchased at EventBrite.
Stand Up for Ukraine – Global Social Media Rally, April 8 and 9 The international aid and awareness group Global Citizen has conscripted the help of music and social media’s brightest stars like Billie Eilish, The Weekend, U2 and Madonna for a global pledging drive. Different than a livestream or in-person event, fans will be treated to pop-up and impromptu performances, giveaways and other treats from the participating artists in a push to get as many pledges as possible to help. Learn more here.
Though there have been murmurings about cease fire talks, the conflict between Vladimir Putin’s forces in Russia and the Ukraine still seems to be very much active. Even if there were a cease-fire today, the need for relief and rebuilding will likely go on for months after the conflict ends. These are just a few ways to help through music, but please also consider donating to your favorite charity or volunteering for relief organizations. For even more artists, labels and music to discover and help, check out the massive list DJ Mag has going as well and watch your favorite artists and labels for when they call for help. Here’s hoping for a quick end to the conflict and more organizations, promoters, labels, et al to step up.