2017 was an odd year for Major Lazer as their fabled fourth studio album, 'Music Is A Weapon', never materialised, and instead the group released their 'Know No Better' EP featuring a disparate selection of collaborators from Nicki Minaj to Travis Scott — as if Diplo had scrolled through his Blackberry randomly selecting artists to work with. Some critics felt that the EP was by no means the group's finest work, falling some way short of their previous output and lacking any real cohesion.
The group's fourth album may now never see the light of day after Diplo admitted he's lost faith in the album format, and recently lambasted the commercialisation of DJ culture, which he described in a recent interview as "cheesy" and "embarrassing". Hopefully, this awakening of sorts might propel the group to new heights and deliver the album we all know they can.
Elsewhere, the group delivered an eye-opening documentary, Give Me Future, about their groundbreaking concert in Cuba, which attracted 500,000 people and saw the group become one of the first US acts to play in Cuba since diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba were reset under the Obama administration.
Sitting alongside some of EDM’s royalty, Germany’s super-producer TUJAMO has already shared the studio with the likes of Danny Avila, Jacob Plant, Laidback Luke and R&B superstar Taio Cruz. This year TUJAMO embarked on a tour of China with 10 shows across the new clubbing destination; an impressive feat making him one of the first international acts to tour the country for so long. But it doesn’t stop there, he’s played plenty more destinations from Berlin to Belgium, Liverpool to Los Angeles, Italy to Ibiza — and that’s all in the last 10 months.
DJ Mag caught up with the globetrotting DJ to talk about his 2017 so far: “I’ve been touring more than any year before. I really played a crazy amount of club and festival shows throughout the whole year, and released two singles in-between (‘Make U Love Me’ on Spinnin’ and ‘One On One’ on Universal). After playing for David Guetta at Ushuaia Ibiza he asked me to remix his single with Nicki Minaj & Lil Wayne, followed by a request for his latest single with Justin Bieber — one of my all-time highlights!”
A third consecutive year in the Top 100 DJs list, and a third time that Tom Swoon is stunned by the support. “I'm just grateful for all the love and faith I get from all the fans around the world,” he tells DJ Mag. When he first entered the list he couldn't believe that he was in the same league as some of the names that he still looks up to.
It's been a year of intense, long studio sessions, a stockpile of live performances around the globe and a handful of A-list remixes — include ones for Iggy Azalea, and the legend that is Armin Van Buuren. “With over 100 shows already done and dusted this year, I can't really wrap my head around how it all went so fast,” he gushes.
Tom's new single is out on Spinnin’ this month. But he's keeping his cards close to his chest about the single release he's involved with for the first quarter of 2018. According to Tom, it's one of the most influential pop artists of our time, but that's as much as we could get out of him.
There are also mutterings of collaborations with Steve Aoki and Showtek, and an extensive touring schedule is falling neatly in to place.
Already the highest charted Portuguese DJ of all time, Kura has now been involved in the Top 100 DJs poll for an unprecedented four times, a sure sign that the big room and electro DJ is doing something very, very right.
Highlights have come thick and fast for the Spinnin’-affiliated spinner, with sold out shows across China, Tomorrowland, private jets to Ibiza and a spine-tingling 35,000 sitting down during a sold out show in his native Portugal. “I did a lot of preparation so I could have every weapon available to respond to the crowd,” says Kura, proudly. And those weapons don’t come much bigger than ‘Police’, his frenetic collaboration with long-time inspiration Hardwell and also Anthony B.
“This year I've been concentrating on bringing quality music, tracks that I know are going to work 100% on the dancefloor,” says Kura of his success. Prime among them has been ‘Bangalore’, a seismic slice of big room energy that channels Bollywood vibes during its monumental breakdown, while the newly released ‘Sedated’ shows a more subtle, emotional side to his production.
Words: ANDY BUCHAN
It’s been a balanced year of old and new for Canada’s oft-outspoken mouseman Joel Zimmerman. Tapping into his roots and legacy, Joel dedicated time to celebrating a decade of Mau5trap, reminding us of just how much talent has passed through his label’s doors from Chris Lake to Noisia via Rezz and Excision. He also dug deep into his own vaults and gave away an entire album of old projects called ‘Stuff I Used To Do’ that featured a host of unreleased and rare Mau5 classics.
Never one to sit still or ever languish in the past, he’s been much more innovative than he has nostalgic. His eye-melting Cube has been thoroughly updated and invigorated with a 2.1 reboot and remains up there with the likes of Prydz as one of the most striking and technologically-advanced performance concepts in the game. Taking it around the world to a huge array of big festivals and solo on his Lots Of Shows In A Row tour, its sense of spectacle backs up the strong opinions he’s happy to share online.
Musically we’ve also seen a cool departure from the big anthemic tracks he’s known for as he develops his collaborative relationship with Manchester MC Shotty Horroh. Recent single ‘Legendary’ shows a much darker, grittier side to Deadmau5… And one that we’d like to hear a lot more of in the future.
Words: DAVE JENKINS
Nicky Romero has been hitting all the big notes this year across multiple touch-points. He’s been touring the festival main stages around the world as part of the Ultra Worldwide events, as well as holding down a residency both in Ibiza at Amnesia and in Las Vegas at the Wynn.
“This range of different shows gives me the chance to play a lot of different material, at clubs and festivals alike, and I love to be able to promote new talent as well as play my own records,” Nicky tells DJ Mag. “It’s also been exciting to celebrate five years of Protocol Recordings this year — the new talent coming through via my inbox has been incredible. I’m looking forward to seeing these artists develop.”
Words: ANGUS THOMAS PATERSON
Tom Swoon's interest in music started at a very young age. At 17, he discovered dance music and was inspired by artists like Deadmau5 and Daft Punk.
Over the next few years, Swoon taught himself to spin and saved up enough cash to score a proper DJ set-up, transforming himself from a bedroom DJ to full-blown pro — his devoted fans voted him in at number 46 in last year's Top 100 DJs poll.
2016 set to be another great year for Swoon, and we are lucky enough to have him performing a live DJ set from the DJ Mag office this Friday!
It’s music that stirs the soul, brings a lump to the throat and a tremble to even the stiffest upper lip. For a whole generation, ‘Strings Of Life’, ‘Go’ and ‘You Got The Love’ are our equivalent of ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Land Of Hope and Glory’ and the national anthem the classical standards unfurled every year during the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. A place, you might assume, where house music would go down as well as Ben Klock dropping Handel’s ‘Messiah’ at Berghain.
Danny Avila is a DJ who proves that age really is just a number. Having first whet his appetite for dance music in Marbella, at the club his father's friends owned, it wasn't until he suffered a wakeboarding accident aged 14 that he truly had time to sit down and learn his craft.
Now, having racked up close to 80k Instagram followers, he treks relentlessly round the world’s biggest clubs, and the 20-year old explains he's had “a year of innovations and lots of moments of joy! I feel blessed to have had the chance to visit so many countries.”
It was sneaking into a Fedde Le Grande show in ‘09 that made him understand how to really ‘kill it’ in a club, and at that point Danny upped sticks to Madrid.
One of the plaudits he’s earned since is the title of Hakkasan's youngest-ever resident, as well as gaining residencies in Las Vegas and Pacha Barcelona, and this is Danny’s first entry into the Top 100.
“Nothing is more nourishing than to celebrate along with your fans and to feel the rush that comes back from their energy onto the stage,” he gushes. “It’s been the most diverse year of my career so far, with my whole MORE concept coming to life where I take people on a journey through a vast variety of electronic music.”