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Poll 2015: DJ Snake

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DJ Snake
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For a new entrant into the Top 100 last year, DJ Snake’s had a pretty wild year. Which is presumably why he was otherwise engaged when being hit up for interview (probably, y’know, in Chile or Japan or something).

Born William Grigahcine in Paris, the viral hitmaker cites arty French film La Haine as an influence on his sound as well as Cypress Hill and KRS-One, and earned the name 'Snake' due to his effectiveness at hiding from the police after graffiting the Parisian ghetto.

Nominated for a Grammy as part of his productions on Lady Gaga’s album, the producer’s name blasted into the minds of the public after his 2014 track with Lil Jon, ‘Turn Down For What’, meant that you could barely step onto a dancefloor without hearing it.

But this year the DJ/producer proved to have even greater success, with the Major Lazer and MØ collab ‘Lean On’ raking in the plays (it scooped Best Dance/Electronic Song at the Billboard Awards and, more importantly, is a Top Tune of 2015 among a fair few of these Top 100 DJs...).

With recent appearances at TomorrowWorld, EDC, and an India tour scheduled for November, it’s fair to say that this Snake will soon be on another plane.

FELICITY MARTIN

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-13 11:00

Style: 
Trap, dance
Best known for: 
Major Lazer, MØ and DJ Snake 'Lean On'.
From: 
Paris

Poll 2015: Deorro

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Deorro
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Deorro, born Erick Orrosquieta, started out DJing when he was just 14. Keen to encourage his interest in music, his father — also a DJ — bought him a copy of DAW Cakewalk Sonar aged 17, and he’s been producing ever since. 

The LA-based producer and DJ’s breakthrough moment came in 2012 when he was asked to remix Chuckie’s ‘Make Some Noise’ — the resulting track reached the Beatport Top 50. Orrosquieta has since gone on to release singles on Hardwell’s label Revealed Recordings and collaborate with Steve Aoki, Diplo and R3hab.

In last year’s DJ Mag poll, Orrosquieta was voted in at No.19, the highest charting new entrant. Shortly before voting closed, the American-Mexican DJ made the surprise announcement on Twitter that he would be taking a break from performing to focus on producing and expanding his own record label PandaFunk.

The gamble seemed to pay off: in December, Orrosquieta’s single ‘Five More Hours’, featuring Chris Brown, reached top 10 in charts across Europe. He’s since returned to DJing, playing Coachella, EDC Las Vegas, Electric Zoo earlier this year as well as making a couple of appearances in the UK.

ADAM BYCHAWSKI

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-13 10:48

Style: 
Electro-house
Best known for: 
‘Five More Hours'
From: 
Los Angeles, California

Poll 2015: Dannic

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Dannic is an artist who needs little introduction. One of the Dutch crop of EDM stadium-fillers, the DJ/producer has been playing out for over a decade now, and just recently collaborated with 2014's No.1 DJ, Hardwell, on ‘Survivors’.

His saccharine synth-filled tunes have been scaling the lofty heights of the Beatport charts, girls are getting his lyrics tattooed on their backs, and the producer seems to be constantly hanging out by a pool. “My year has been amazing!” he nods.

“I released my ‘Dear Life’ documentary, played the Tomorrowland main stage and now I’m back in the Top 100 list! 2016 looks set to be bigger and better as I’m getting ready to launch my very own imprint, I can’t wait.”

That label is looking to be a place for his own work as well as other fresh faces. “That’s exactly why I wanted to launch my own label,” he explains. “So that I had a platform for my own sounds that I could fill with the grooves I wanted, but also support new talent that doesn’t have a specific home yet but a sound that would fit.”

Though he’s riding high on the waves of the industry, he’s aware that it would benefit from some feminine input. “I think there is definitely a space for more female DJs and producers to step up and equal it out!” he concludes.

FELICITY MARTIN

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-13 10:31

Style: 
“Grooving, progressive house.”
Best known for: 
“'Clobber', 'Zenith', 'Dear Life'.”
Tune of the year: 
“My collaboration with Hardwell feat Haris ‘Survivors’!”
From: 
Breda, Netherlands
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Tom & Jame.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“As well as the obvious technical skills and learning your craft, it’s important to have knowledge of the scene and industry, and stay true to your own sound.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Of course! The industry is worth almost $7bn and dance music across the board has gone more mainstream than ever, from progressive to trance and house over to techno.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“It can do, but I’ve learnt after years on the road that it’s up to yourself to be surrounded with amazing family, friends you trust and good natured, honest people.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“I have a big love of animals. I think what WWF do is amazing, especially with endangered species such as rhinos and tigers and pandas.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“The Arches in Glasgow. I was sad to hear that the venue would be closing earlier this summer — I have such great memories of playing there back in 2013 with my buddy Hardwell.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“Dance music seems very male-dominated right now, as it has been for many years, but it’s great to see acts like Nervo and Krewella doing well, as well as up and coming artists like Mija.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“I produce all my tracks in my own studio but I don’t see anything wrong with it. If working with a partner helps you to truly make the best tracks you can, then you can only go with your gut to produce the best music at that time.”

Poll 2015: Deadmau5

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Deadmau5
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Known as much for his personality both online and onstage as he is for his massively successful productions, Toronto native Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5, maintains his place in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll for another year.

Deadmau5 continues to showcase his endless musical versatility, tantalizing fans with previews on his Soundcloud account, like the melodic rework of last year’s hip-hop track ‘Are You Not Afraid’ and a powerful ballad of slowly building synths in a yet-to-be-released collaboration with Grabbitz called ‘Blood For the Bloodgoat’.

Always one to speak his mind about the state of electronic dance music, the year has seen no shortage of Twitter Mau5-traps — artists and fans alike may unwittingly step into one at any moment — but 2015 also saw the artist on line-ups across the globe.

A headlining act for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, Deadmau5 also appeared at the fabled Austin City Limits, the Reading and Leeds Festivals in England and debuted a new stage at Governor’s Ball in New York City, where he prevailed despite technical turmoil.

Of course, entertaining audiences in the digital ether and on the live stage aren’t the only places you can find him; those who follow his work are well aware that the Mau5 is no stranger to the world of video games.

Earlier this year he released a unique series of sound clips featured in Dota 2, a game developed by the Bellevue, Washington-based Valve Corporation. At the close of the Dota 2 competition — TI5, the largest ever eSports tournament to date — Deadmau5 surprised the crowd at KeyArena in Seattle with a live performance, reminding everyone yet again that his persona is synonymous with large scale entertainment... no matter the mode or method.

ERIN SHARONI

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-13 10:26

Style: 
Progressive house, electro house
From: 
Toronto, Ontario

Poll 2015: R3hab

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R3hab
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Fadil El Ghoul, aka R3HAB, has been on a quick ascent to join his EDM colleagues at the festival main stages, and for proof of his studio prowess, you only need to glance at the tracklist for his recent ‘Inspired’ mix for Ministry Of Sound. The upfront disc contains no less than 12 of the singles, remixes and collaborations that he’s put his name to this year. 

“The past 12 months have been an absolute whirlwind,” he told DJ Mag. “The most memorable personal highlight for me was playing Coachella. Two weekends with 25,000 people per show, and we even had Ciara come out and do two songs. It is something that you dream about as an artist, and it could not have been better.” 

In addition to Coachella, he also launched a new residency in Las Vegas this year, played across two different days at Belgium’s Tomorrowland in July, and otherwise toured and performed all around the world, from Tokyo to Dubai to Ibiza. 

In the studio is where R3HAB has really made his mark this year though, with his production partnership with Calvin Harris resulting in ‘Burnin’ and a collaborative remix of ‘How Deep Is Your Is Love’, in addition to high-profile collaborations with Sander van Doorn, NERVO and Headhunterz. He’s also remixed everyone from Axwell Λ Ingrosso to Rihanna. 

“I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months have in store!” he enthuses to DJ Mag.

ANGUS PATERSON

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-12 15:17

Style: 
“Dance music.”
Best known for: 
“Remixes and peak-time bangers.”
Tune of the year: 
“Calvin Harris & Disciples ‘How Deep Is Your Love (Calvin Harris & R3HAB Remix)’
From: 
Breda, The Netherlands
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“KSHMR.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Quite simple, to make people dance and be happy.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Yes!”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Of course. Sometimes you just have to take a little break and be grateful and happy with the opportunities that this life has afforded you.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Nature preservation. Many times we forget how beautiful nature is.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Studio 54.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I have no clue but I welcome women all day long in the Top 100.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“Everybody should be credited, but I also feel that this is a totally overhyped and exaggerated phenomenon. I love collaborating with talented people and getting inspired, so if you want to work together and you credit the person, great!”

Poll 2015: Axwell & Ingrosso

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Axwell & Ingrosso
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It's official, Axwell and Ingrosso are married. Not legally of course — even if civil partnerships (unlike some US States) are accepted in Sweden. No, the marriage of these two ex-members of the Swedish House Mafia is purely of creative convenience. Not just so they can double up on votes, enter the Top 20 and score an award for Highest Collaboration in the process.

Instead, the Axwell 'n Ingrosso axis is one hinged on amalgamation; dedication to a cause, they say. “The big difference now,” says Axwell, “is that when we did Swedish House Mafia, everyone was also being individuals and doing their own thing.

But now we buried our own things a bit. It’s more of a commitment. That’s what it came to feel like with Swedish House Mafia: it was a side project. But it wasn’t fair to treat it like that. That was the big problem.”

The boom in dance music in America, adds Ingrosso, was one of the motors driving Swedish House Mafia’s success. “It helped us become big,” he acknowledges, “but that meant it couldn’t be a side-project. The culture was demanding more.”

For these two, then, the past 12 months have been about drilling down and focusing more on music as an art — something more personal — rather than as a response to mainstream expectations.

While the intention was to avoid the booth as much as possible, it's a partnership that's seen them close both weekends of Coachella, headline Ultra Miami, sell out London's Alexandra Palace and enjoy a successful season at Ushuaia in Ibiza.  

Culminating in an album later this year, they've also released a series of tracks, including 'Sun Is Shining', picked up as the soundtrack to H&M's summer campaign, and 'Something New' used by Beats.

There's also been various collaborations, including one with Swede musicians Vincent & Salem, and an electro mash-up featuring vocals from Pusha T. If Swedish House Mafia were about capturing people's attention, the Axwell ^ Ingrosso combo is about casting the net out further. 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - admin - 2016-10-19 17:09

Poll 2015: DVBBS

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Before trying their hand at dance music, Canadian duo DVBBS (pronounced ‘Dubs’), made up of brothers Alexandre and Christopher van den Hoef, were members of a local rock band.

During their formative years, the two had been part of Ontario’s underground punk scene. At the age of 16 and 17 respectively, the van den Hoefs started making electronic music after having a dance music revelation prompted by seeing Dutch hardstyle act Showtek perform, who also happen to be brothers.

In 2013, the brothers finally broke through on an international level with the release of ‘Tsunami’. Initially released anonymously, the pair eventually revealed that they had collaborated with label-mate Borgeous on the track after scoring No.1s in the Netherlands, US, Belgium and Poland.

The brothers have gone on to tour the EDM circuit extensively, clocking up some 300 gigs last year including Ultra Music Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival. The van den Hoefs have shared a stage with acts like Tiësto, Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix and, perhaps most significantly for the two, the Dutch artists who inspired them to start producing back when they were teenagers — Showtek. 

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-12 15:07

Style: 
“Woozy.”
Best known for: 
“’Ravehearts Under Gold Skies’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Flosstradamus feat. GTA & Lil Jon ‘Prison Riot’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Jay Cosmic and Delora.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Connecting with your crowd.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Say what you want about EDM, but on a global scale this is just the beginning.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Absolutely, there’s been times we couldn’t imagine being any more mentally and physically drained, but when you finally get that one-hour onstage and see so many fucking smiles, there’s no better feeling than that.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Animals. And watching the power of music unify the world.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Our basement after-parties.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“We see that changing very soon.”

Poll 2015: W&W

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W&W
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Willem van Hanegem and Ward van der Harst's mix-up of trance, electro and progressive house elements have seen them reach out and connect to a wide audience of dance music fans across the world.

“There are not a lot of people who mix different genres the way that we do,” they tell DJ Mag, before modestly adding “we can imagine that for someone who isn't into dance music so much it sounds similar to other artists’ music, but then again that goes for any artist in any genre.”

As well as having a fierce live DJing reputation, the duo also host their own popular radio show. “Our radio show and our live sets are two completely different worlds,” they explain. “In our radio show we play all the new music we like that came out during that week.”

Next year they plan “to enjoy more of what we do!” and with a gig rider that includes “champagne, a bottle of vodka for our agent, some beers and coconut water, ever since Tiesto told us it's the best cure against hangovers”, W&W look like they're enjoying themselves quite a bit already. 

DAVID McCARTHY

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-11 17:01

Style: 
“A mixture of electro-house, progressive, trance and hard dance.
Best known for: 
“Our music, our Mainstage Radioshow and record label and our live sets.”
Tune of the year: 
“Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike vs Ummet Ozcan ‘The Hum’.”
From: 
Haarlem, The Netherlands
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Keep an eye out for these guys: Kenneth G, Maestro Harrell and Maurice West.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“To be able to adjust to a crowd while still staying true to your own sound.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“The future is definitely still bright. More styles will develop within the genre, which causes dance music to approach an even broader audience than ever.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Sometimes you get a bit exhausted physically as well as mentally, especially when you travel between different continents and time-zones all the time.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“The most important thing in this world is the world itself, so we think it's extremely important that we make sure we treat our planet with great care.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“There are quite a few clubs we used to play that we absolutely loved. Like The Guvernment in Toronto or The Arches in Glasgow, it's a shame they had to close.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“Because there are a lot more male DJs than female DJs.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“Mixed feelings. Of course it kind of takes away some integrity of an artist, but being a good producer is by far not the only aspect of being a great artist or a great DJ.”

Poll 2015: Alesso

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Alesso
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Alesso obviously puts as much time and effort into making EDM/pop tunes as he does his hair. However even his mentors — Steve Angello and the now-paired Ingrosso & Axwell — can claim to have half a foot in the past — within dance music's underground roots — while embracing pop modernity to move forward. 

Perhaps it's an age thing, but for Alesso — considered the protege of Swedish House Mafia — it's about hits, plain and simple. His 2013 track with Calvin Harris 'Under Control', featuring Hurts, is a manufactured major label super-collab of Grand Canyon proportions, while anyone hoping for last year's 'Heroes (We Could Be)' to be influenced by Bowie's '77 anthem can think again. The only consolation for Bowie fans is that he didn't attempt to cover it. 

Still, the numbers don't lie. With 3m+ followers on Facebook and almost 95m plays on YouTube for a single song, this guy is the modern face — and hair — of pop music. After refusing to answers Qs for the poll this year and no sign of a campaign, Alesso appears to have turned his back on dance culture in 2015. But, would you blame him? Pop hits are far more lucrative. 

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-11 16:53

Style: 
Electro-house/EDM
From: 
Stockholm, Sweden

Poll 2015: Oliver Heldens

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Oliver Heldens
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The ushering in of 'future house' as the “saviour of EDM” last year felt a little premature, but a 22-place climb for Oliver Heldens (Highest House DJ) following his Top 40 new entry placement in 2014 suggests that the future is, in fact, bright for EDM.

The larger-than-life sounds of DV&LM might have taken the crown this year, but the sight of Heldens flirting with the Top 10 (and Aoki dropping tech house) is a sign that mainstream EDM is no closed shop.

'Shades Of Grey' (out October), featuring Delaney Jane on vocals, is a nailed-on hit; a 125bpm house tune with a candy-floss pop hook and a garage skip closer to Disclosure than David Guetta, and further proof that — if given the right twist — house can still compete.

Sellable records aside, it's Heldens' hard work in 2015 that's contributed to his rise. 200 shows all over the world's big stages — including Ultra Miami, EDC Vegas and Tomorrowland — a sold-out UK tour and four Beatport No.1s, he's also launched his own Heldeep label/radio show and bassline alias HI-LO. Heldens is a busy, busy boy! 

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-11 16:51

Style: 
Future house
Best known for: 
'Gecko'
From: 
Rotterdam, Holland

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