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Alternative Top 100 DJs 2018, powered by Beatport

Using data from Top 100 DJs voters and Beatport purchases, we present the Alternative Top 100 DJs - a benchmark for house and techno artists wordwide...

For the past couple of years DJ Mag has used Top 100 DJs data to calculate and reflect the international popularity of DJs from the house and techno scenes.

With the continuing dominance of EDM, these genres have been on the periphery of the global poll in recent years, despite commanding huge audiences worldwide.

Now, for the first time, this poll is co-presented by Beatport, integrating sales trend data alongside votes from DJ Mag fans to create the Alternative Top 100 DJs chart — a way to recognise the incredible popularity of these scenes. 

What can you say about Carl Cox? A titan of the worldwide electronic music scene, he’s a global ambassador whose effervescence and joie de vivre behind the decks is absolutely infectious.

Starting to DJ in his mid-teens, Coxy was ideally placed to become one of the UK’s acid house pioneers, his three-deck vinyl mixing wowing the raves right across the UK. By the mid-90s, with the release of his ‘F.A.C.T.’ mix on React and a slew of productions, he was already the biggest DJ in the UK — a fact borne out by his No.1 placing in 1995’s Top 100 DJs poll, and again in 1997.

Via Ultimate Base and Intec Records he cemented his position, and when he began his residency at Space Ibiza and toured his Carl Cox & Friends around various megafests, he became a globally recognised statesman for our culture. He finished his Space residency when the club closed in 2016, but is now a partner in the Space Club business as they launch into the future. “No pun intended, but watch this Space!” he grins.

Carl has also been working hard on his new label, Awesome Sound Wave, and found time to appear in the What We Started doc with Martin Garrix, with Paul Oakenfold at Stonehenge, and at assorted Resistance parties and more. Coxy is unstoppable — OHYESOHYESOHYES!

International man-of-mystery Claptone has been leaving his mark on nightlife since 2013, when he first came to prominence through the subtle charms of his massive release ‘No Eyes’ featuring Jaw. He has spent much of 2018 taking his large-scale event The Masquerade to the major cities of South America, the US and Europe. He also managed to squeeze in an Ibiza summer residency and gigs at Defected at Eden, Pacha, Cuckoo Land at Ibiza Rocks, Glitterbox at Hï Ibiza and indeed played at “more mind-blowing festivals and clubs than any regular human being ever could”.

2018 also saw Berlin resident Claptone front our annual Croatia magazine, and release of his second artist album ‘Fantast’, following the success of 2015’s ‘The Charmer’. ‘Fantast’ is a 13-track affair full of rich musical textures, pristine production and collaborations with artists including Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, Nathan Nicholson, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Zola Blood and Joan As Policewoman. Claptone also released a series of strong singles and remix packages from the album which have kept the masked man at the very centre of the action all year long.

Richie Hawtin never stops. For the best part of three decades, the Canadian DJ/producer has worked tirelessly to redefine techno. From the early days of the Plus 8 label — home to then-emerging artists like Speedy J, Kenny Larkin and Dan Bell — and his expansive F.U.S.E. project, into the menacing, acid-soaked minimalism of his Plastikman alter ego, Hawtin was an innovative artist and ground-breaking label owner.

As the ‘90s drew to a close and the new millennium started, he turned his technological focus to his DJing. As anyone who had the pleasure of hearing in a club or just his ‘X-Mix’ CD can attest, vinyl-era Hawtin sets were a propulsive blend of house and techno. The addition of a 909 for his 1999 mix, ‘Decks, EFX & 909’, accentuated his angular selections and paved the way for the intricate ‘DE9: Closer To The Edit’ and ‘Transitions’ mix CDs. By the time the latter mix arrived, the minimal — or ‘mnml’ — boom was in full swing, with Hawtin’s Minus imprint positioned at the epicentre, with the label producing artists like Marc Houle, Magda and Troy Pierce.

While Hawtin revived the Plastikman project in 2015 for a series of new EPs, he continues to look forward. Apart from his touring schedule, which has seen him visit Asia twice and play across Europe, the US and South America, he tells DJ Mag that he has been “working hard to continue the development of my CLOSE live concept and learning video editing in order to finish an upcoming audio/visual release that brings you closer to how I perform and the intensity of spontaneity and synchronicity!”

When Adam Beyer says that he was “busy touring this year and doing some new shows with Cirez D”, it’s quite an understatement. The founder of the Drumcode label and one of the architects of tough Swedish techno during the late ‘90s traversed Europe and the US this year, bringing the sound of Drumcode to well-known clubs and festivals like Berghain, Cocoon at Pacha, Creamfields and Tomorrowland.

Speaking of festivals, 2018 also saw Drumcode put on its first festival in Amsterdam in August. Run in association with Awakenings and spread across four stages, it featured well-known names like Beyer, Pan-Pot, Joel Mull and Dense & Pika sharing the line-up with emerging stars like Amelie Lens and Boxia.

It sold out months in advance and “was a huge success,” Adam tells DJ Mag. On the production front, Beyer was also busy. “I’ve also been writing and releasing some new music,” he explains, referring to his split releases with Bart Skils, Layton Giordani and Green Velvet. The label also released an acclaimed artist album from Italian producer Enrico Sangiuliano, and Drumcode supported upcoming artists on the seventh instalment of its ‘A-Sides’ compilation series.

Rising to prominence during the ‘90s, Marco Carola came to define the Neapolitan techno sound during that period. Together with his friend and close colleague Gaetano Parisio, aka Gaetek, Carola’s lean, rolling releases on his Design Music and 1000 imprints set the benchmark for hard-edged techno. Coupled with his three-deck sets, these key releases led to Carola becoming one of the world’s most in-demand underground DJs.

However, there were always different sides to Carola’s musical identity. This was clear from as early as his 1998 debut album, ‘Fokus’, which saw him experiment with breakbeats and deep synth sounds. It came as no surprise, then, that Carola’s love of stripped-back club music shifted towards minimal house during the new millennium. This culminated in the ‘Play It Loud!’ album, issued on Richie Hawtin’s Minus label, and led to Carola moving from underground techno basements to the big rooms of Ibiza to appear at Sven Väth’s Cocoon parties.

This year, Carola returned to Amnesia, this time to his own Music:On parties on Fridays, joined by veterans such as Derrick May, Carl Craig and Green Velvet.

Producer and DJ Solomun began releasing music back in 2005, but his career really took off in 2012 with his first Ibiza residency at Sankeys, Diynamic Neon Nights, and then the launch of his infamous Solomun +1 residency at Pacha the following year. Since then he’s DJ’d at Ultra Europe, Exit Festival, Melt! Festival and Tomorrowland as well as holding down various residencies including Destino and Ushuaïa, whilst Solomun +1 remains one of the most popular parties in Ibiza.

Solomun’s production sound is a compelling, melodic take on house, drawing on techno, prog and electro influences, featuring big metallic synth riffs and emotive chords atop precision-tooled tech-beats. Over the course of his career, he’s remixed the likes of Depeche Mode, Tiefschwarz and DJ Hell and this year turned in great sounding remixes of Marc Romby & Stephan Bodzin, Made By Pete feat. Jem Cooke, and a classy re-rub of Gorge’s ‘Garuna’.

Along with co-founder Adriano Trolio, Solomun runs his Diynamic and 2DIY4 labels, home to many Solomun productions, although throughout his career he’s also put out tunes on Sonar Kollektiv, Compost Black, Pokerflat and more. Diynamic dropped their 100th release this year, and appropriately it was from Solomun himself, his first full EP in three years, the killer three-track ‘Customer Is King’.

Emerging on Ellen Allien’s BPitch label during the tail end of the ‘90s, Paul Kalbrenner has become one of techno’s biggest global artists. The Berlin producer has achieved this by focusing on album production and an unexpected career side-step: in 2004, the film director Hannes Stoehr commissioned him to provide the soundtrack for the movie Berlin Calling. This led to Kalkbrenner performing in the leading role. The film became a surprise hit, and drew audiences all around Europe. Crucially for Kalbrenner, the soundtrack went platinum and the single ‘Sky & Sand’ spent over 120 consecutive weeks in the German singles charts.

While a documentary about Kalkbrenner’s life on the road followed in 2010, he has exclusively focused on his own production work, releasing a total of eight studio albums to date.

Kalkbrenner’s energetic live shows have played a key part in his ascent, and in recent years he has shared festival stages with mainstream acts like Florence & The Machine, Iggy Pop and Blur.

This ability to rock a crowd even drew attention from the German government, and in 2014 they asked him to play a headline show in front of the Brandenburg Gate as part of the ceremony to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Kalkbrenner performed to over 400,000 people at the event.

Last year, he celebrated his underground roots with his ‘Back To The Future’ mixtape series, a trilogy that chronicles his personal history of electronic music’s arrival to Germany. The series went viral, amassing over 1.5million downloads. A 10-date country tour sold out within minutes.

2018 saw him release his eighth studio album, ‘Parts Of Life’, a deeply personal work that embodies his entrancing techno sound.

Nina Kraviz is an inspirational DJ. Emerging from Russia in 2009 with releases on Rekids and Underground Quality, she has subsequently become one of the biggest names on the house/techno circuit. The fact that she has achieved this on her own terms and without any regard to fads and fashions — Kraviz is known for occasionally playing old trance records, for instance — is all the more staggering.

Having issued a series of no-nonsense records on Matt Edwards’ imprint, the former dentist took matters into her own hands and established her own imprint, трип (pronounced ‘Trip’), in 2014. She has used the label as a platform to promote new, emerging artists — take your pick from Bjarki, PTU or Roma Zukerman — as well as releasing material by more established underground names like The Mover, Terrence Dixon and the Aphex Twin alter ego, Universal Indicator on cryptically named compilations such as ‘Don’t Mess With Cupid, ‘Cause Cupid Ain’t Stupid’.

Like most of her colleagues in this poll, Nina says that she has been touring relentlessly. Aside from production, she explains that “the rest is my touring life, which has been a bit tough lately, but that’s not new”. Nina adds: “I’m making a lot of music at the moment. Especially remixes. I‘ve done so many this year. Some already came out and even more are coming. Talking about remixes, I am currently working on a very interesting remix album project for an incredibly talented American artist. Plus, there’s new releases on my Trip and Galaxiid labels — finding new talent is a constant agenda.”

This artist from Durban, South Africa, has become the country’s most globally celebrated electronic musician, playing to capacity crowds at enormous stadiums, DJing everywhere from underground institutions such as Panorama Bar in Berlin to gigantic festivals like Ultra in Miami, and working with R&B megastars Drake and Alicia Keys.

Black Coffee is on an ever-upward trajectory, after making a succession of award-winning albums and launching new artists with his Soulistic label.

Steve Lawler is a true stalwart of the UK club scene. In what is approaching three decades of dedication, the Birmingham-born DJ/producer has done it all – from early days of throwing infamous raves under the M42 to being crowned the ‘King of Space’ during his nine-year residency at the legendary Ibiza club. 

His career has seen him hold residencies at a wide array of  global venues other than Space,  including Cream in Liverpool, Home and The End in London, Twilo in New York, The Arches in Glasgow and Release in San Francisco and  Sankeys in Ibiza. 

More than just a DJ, Lawler’s skills in dancing across the tightrope of house an techno has found him releasing tracks and EPs on revered labels like R&S, Drumcode, Hot Creations, Soma and Cocoon, to name but a few. 

He’s also been a champion of up-and-coming artists and contemporaries alike through his label VIVa MUSiC. Since it launched in 2006, it has released work from the likes of Jamie Jones, Waze & Odyssey, Christoph and more (himself included).

2018 has been another banner year for the UK stalwart, with a remix of Groove Armada under his belt, a number of other releases dotted about and a hectic touring schedule. Nearly three decades in the game, and Lawler is as busy as ever.

11. Solardo

12. Green Velvet

13. Erick Morillo

14. Sven Väth

15. Fatboy Slim

16. Loco Dice

17. Charlotte de Witte

18. Jamie Jones

19. CamelPhat

20. Kölsch

21. Seth Troxler

22. Maceo Plex

23. Amelie Lens

24. Hot Since 82

25. FISHER

26. Sasha

27. Patrick Topping

28. Kerri Chandler

29. Dennis Cruz

30. Maya Jane Coles

31. Riva Starr

32. Joris Voorn

33. Ellen Allien

34. Mark Knight

35. John Digweed

36. Denis Sulta

37. Nicole Moudaber

38. Guy Gerber

39. Jeff Mills

40. Nastia

41. Bicep

42. The Martinez Brothers

43. Skream

44. Dubfire

45. The Black Madonna

46. Chris Liebing

47. Claude Vonstroke

48. Peggy Gou

49. Pan-Pot

50. Disclosure

51. Dave Clarke

52. Chris Lorenzo

53. Shadow Child

54. Tale Of Us

55. Radio Slave

56. Ricardo Villalobos 

57. Stephan Bodzin 

58. ANNA

59. Enrico Sangiuliano 

60. Pete Tong

61. Joseph Capriati 

62. Laurent Garnier

63. Dixon

64. 2manyDJs

65. Danny Howells

66. Carl Craig

67. Patrice Bäumel

68. Josh Butler

69. Detlef

70. Eats Everything

71. UMEK

72. Latmun

73. Alan Fitzpatrick

74. Booka Shade

75. Billy Kenny

76. DJ Koze

77. KiNK

78. Dennis Ferrer

79. Sam Paganini

80. Dense & Pika

81. Nick Curly

82. Darius Syrossian

83. Secondcity

84. Sidney Charles

85. Matt Sassari

86. Marc Romboy

87. Catz ‘n Dogz

88. Damian Lazarus

89. Nic Fanciulli

90. Danny Tenaglia

91. My Nu Leng

92. Detroit Swindle

93. David Morales

94. Darren Emerson

95. Len Faki

96. Zinc

97. Dax J

98. Purple Disco Machine 

99. Dave Seaman

100. Rampa