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Here are the DJ Mag Best Of North America Awards 2019 winners

DJ Mag’s annual Best of North American Awards poll gives our readers the opportunity to show their love to their favorite DJs, producers, labels, clubs and festivals. With more votes than ever before, 2019 has been a huge year for the BoNAs, with legends and newcomers from the underground and the main stage all scooping prizes across 16 categories. This year, the single non-public category, Outstanding Contribution — chosen by the DJ Mag NA staff — goes to techno legend Richie Hawtin, whose career spanning over almost three decades has seen him shape and shake the world of DJ technology. Below, you can see the full list of this year’s winners. Congratulations to all of 2019’s nominees!

Outstanding Contribution
Richie Hawtin

Richie Hawtin is one of the most pioneering artists in electronic music, and a true proponent of techno’s future-focused ideology. As the winner of DJ Mag’s Best of North America Outstanding Contribution Award 2019, the Canadian has maintained a position at the top of the game for almost three decades.

The award, given to figures in electronic music who’ve positively shaped the landscape over their career, is well deserved by Hawtin, whose continuous innovations in technology, technique and sound have been demonstrated most recently by his CLOSE live show and the PLAYdifferently Model 1 mixer. For someone so future-focussed, one might feel inclined to ask if something so reflective could feel nostalgic. And isn’t nostalgia the enemy of techno?

“It is and that’s why I try not to look back too often, and having an award like that, there’s a weight to it, so you have to stop and reflect and think,” he told DJ Mag in a new, in-depth interview. “It is, on one hand, the enemy of techno and the ethos of where this music came from, [but] it also celebrates how strong that ethos has been and how it’s created a whole foundation and tapestry of music that continues to evolve today.

“We all dreamed and hoped that we could continue making music for our lifetime and that techno wasn’t just a disco fad or something — we’ve proven that it has staying power, but can it continue to evolve?”

It’s not often he looks back, but in the brief moments he allows himself to contemplate his achievements, doubts, struggles and successes, it appears gently therapeutic for the Canadian techno legend.

“Very early on, before it all started, John Acquaviva and I were heavily inspired by Mute Records, people like Depeche Mode and Nitzer Ebb, and our interpretation was that these people and labels were on a mission,” he tells us. “This wasn’t something that was for a week or for a year, this is what they do.

“When we started to get some popularity, people came, bigger labels wanted to buy us out, they wanted to license things, make us stars. I don’t think we made every right decision, but for the most part, we always came back and said, ‘We wanna be here in five years, in 10 years, how do we keep doing this? How do we keep control? How do we enjoy this and how do we make this our life?’”

Words: Declan McGlynn
Photo: Gemma Parker

Best DJ
Honey Dijon

Other nominees: AC Slater, DJ Stingray, Jubilee, Robert Hood

Paying tribute to her roots in the Chicago and New York house scenes, while remaining firmly in the here and now, Honey Dijon is officially this year’s Best DJ...

She’s a world-famous DJ, a gifted producer, a passionate trans-rights advocate and a fashion icon — Honey Dijon’s credentials are in a class of their own. Having grown up in the home of house music, Chicago, Honey Dijon got her first taste of clubbing at a very young age, sneaking in to see Ron Hardy at The Muzic Box and Frankie Knuckles at The Powerplant when she was just 12 years old. Those early days prepared her well for what was to come, and with a move to New York City in the ‘90s, she quickly befriended Danny Tenaglia. Taking inspiration from his legendary sets at Twilo, she combined Tenaglia’s sense of drama and risk-taking with her roots in Chicago house, to develop a signature, cross-city style that has propelled her across the globe countless times over.

Anyone who’s seen Dijon in the last year — or the last 20 — can attest to her skills, and to her continued love affair with vinyl, a medium she pushes to this day. That’s not to say she’s is solely devoted to the past — far from it. But her roots in the styles and cities that have made dance music great continue to shine through with passion and integrity in every set she plays.

A wide musical palate such as hers would be difficult to get across to such varied audiences in lesser hands, but Honey’s technical abilities make cutting from hypnotic Twilo-era rhythms to jacking Chicago beats to laid-back vibes look divinely easy. Which is why Dijon is a DJ that other big-hitters will go out of their way to see play.

That’s also why 2018 was another massive year for the Best of North America winner. She was practically everywhere, playing all the best clubs and biggest festivals around. She toured across Australia, where she also nailed a Sugar Mountain Boiler Room — currently sitting at over 3 million plays — played Berlin’s famed Panorama Bar, We Still Believe with The Black Madonna in Los Angeles, at the Amsterdam Dance Event, for the Smirnoff Equalising Music bash at London’s Printworks, Toronto’s award-winning Coda club, Miami Music Week, and many, many more.

And her 2019 — a year she started with a New Year’s Eve gig at Berghain — is already shaping up similarly. Following shows in Tel Aviv, Mexico, Italy, America, and across the UK, Honey will play at prestigious events like AVA Festival in Belfast, Ireland, Albania’s Kala Festival, The Peacock Society in France, Pride Dance Party at London’s E1, Sónar in Barcelona and Holland’s long-running Lowlands Festival. With so much demand, and such an intimate ear for the past and insightful eye for the future, it’s no wonder Honey Dijon has been voted the best North American DJ.

Words: Chandler Shortlidge

Best Producer
Zeds Dead

Other nominees: Diplo, Jlin, Octo Octa, Virtual Self (Porter Robinson)

Genre-breaking duo Zeds Dead nab the Best Producer gong following another year of huge hits that span the bass music spectrum...

Bearing a moniker inspired by a line of dialogue from Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 cult classic, Pulp Fiction, Zeds Dead have similarly found acclaim. Chalk it up to their mass appeal and boundary breaking aesthetic.

The duo is formed of Hooks and DC, two trailblazers of the modern North American bass scene. Emerging in the late noughties, their style has evolved effortlessly. Their signature sound could be described as melodic dubstep, but that would sell Zeds Dead’s eclectic range short, as the Toronto natives (real names: Zachary Rapp-Rovan and Dylan Mamid) lay claim to an impressive repertoire of original house, electro, d&b, breaks and trap tracks too. Layered soundscapes have become somewhat of a calling card for the pair, regardless of what they are playing and with whom.

Versatility is a distinguishing characteristic of Zeds Dead’s broad, and often bone-crushing, style. Hence, their groundbreaking beats also tend to attract the attention of artists who run the genre gamut: Oliver Heldens, Twin Shadow and Diplo have all teamed up with Zeds Dead in the past. Meanwhile, names like DNMO, Snails and 1000volts emerged as collaborators in the last year.

As for club hits, Zeds Dead have already released several in 2019. Their soaring drum & bass single ‘Lift You Up’ — a collab with Delta Heavy — will do exactly what it says on the tin; while rattling trap banger, ‘Kill Em’ — co-produced with 1000volts — hits hard on the opposite end of the spectrum, with drilling basslines and echo-filtered rap vocals from honorary Wu-Tang Clan member, Redman. Then there’s ‘We Could Be Kings’, which demonstrates what the Zeds Dead boys do best with its golden hook and reverberating swells. These and other well- received productions were a welcome follow up to their 2016 debut LP ‘Northern Lights’, a triumph that still dazzles and draws remixes years later. An extension of Zeds Dead’s enviable production prowess is their Deadbeats imprint, which has become a critical label for uncovering the next generation of bass stars. Featuring releases from experimental allies EPROM and Mad Zach, as well as happy hardcore darling Ducky, Deadbeats has become a household name for anyone in want of a wobble.

Still humble at heart, Zeds Dead have a message for the fans who voted in DJ Mag’s 2019 Best of North America Awards: “We really didn’t expect this, but are super thankful you guys like our music! We have tons of new music we’re rolling out in several projects to come so hopefully we live up to this!”

Catch Zeds Dead on the North American festival circuit this summer, when they play Best Festival winner, Shambhala, Greatest Day Ever in NYC and Escapade Music Festival in Ottawa, Ontario amongst others.

Words: Megan Venzin

Hall Of Fame
Armand Van Helden

Other nominees: Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, Gary Richards AKA DESTRUCTO, K-Hand, Moodymann

Having spun everything from hip-hop to house, speed garage to EDM, topped the charts across the world and remixed more pop stars than we can count, Boston-born Armand van Helden is a verified legend and the first entrant into the BoNA Hall of Fame...

If consistency is indeed the key to success, we could all afford to take notes from Armand van Helden. Even as he stands on the cusp of 50 years old, the prolific DJ/producer has continued to reach new career highs and build on the momentum that’s seemingly never left his side, more than earning his place as 2019’s entrant into DJ Mag’s Hall of Fame in the process. As popular with old-school house heads as he is contemporary mainstream audiences, van Helden is a rare element in a culture marked by strongly delineated likes and dislikes: a universally beloved fixture.

Van Helden’s played many roles in his time as a globetrotting selector, including, but far from limited to, fresh-faced soulful remixer, unlikely pop- crossover act and elder statesman. But throughout each part, he’s always maintained the ability to forge the biggest, funkiest of hooks from the most unlikely of sources; it takes a special sort of artist to flip Boney M into a world-conquering smash for the EDM age, as he did alongside A-Trak (under their Duck Sauce alias) on ‘Barbara Streisand’.

Although he was born in Boston and now belongs to the world at large, van Helden shaped his sound in New York City’s club scene of the mid-’90s. There have been several moments in his decades-long career where he could’ve understandably and justifiably rested on his laurels: if he’d stopped after releasing tracks such as ‘Witch Doktor’ (1994) and ‘Flowerz’ (1999), he would’ve enshrined himself as a name crate-diggers knew to keep their eyes peeled for. Even if he’d brought things to a close after remixing hitmakers of Tori Amos’ caliber, he would’ve become permanently associated with one of the most joyous eras of dance music. Instead, like most great DJs, van Helden pressed forward by embracing the limitless sonic possibilities two turntables and a mixer can offer. As the tides shifted away from house to make room for the harsh electro clash and blog house sounds that foreshadowed EDM, van Helden soon found himself DJing for the indie crowd. It wasn’t long before the rest of the United States caught onto the thrills only dancefloors can provide, and he found himself on the front lines of the EDM explosion that pushed dance music to the forefront of the American consciousness.

Whether he’s paying tribute to house’s disco- indebted roots, rinsing the hip-hop that DJing made possible or party-rocking with the rowdiest of them, there’s little that van Helden can’t do. And as his continual presence on festival line-ups and club flyers attests, there are countless people who remain eager to watch him work.

There’s no doubt the Hall of Fame inductee will continue to find new audiences, even if he’s not the one standing behind the decks when his tunes are playing. Just recently, van Helden was among the artists played by Four Tet during the experimental DJ/producer’s Coachella set. It’s the latest in a long series of testaments to van Helden’s staying power and scope of influence, and in all likelihood, it’s far from the last.

Words: Zach Schlein

Best Live Act
GRiZ

Other nominees: Chromeo, Marc Rebillet, Model 500, Robert DeLong

Michigan-born GRiZ’s extra-special shows, which feature his own saxophone playing — and now singing too — have scooped him the Best Live Act award...

GRiZ is an innovator. A driving force behind the contemporary electro-funk genre, the saxophone-slaying aficionado has set a trend all of his own. As dynamic on the decks as he is with his woodwind, Grant Kwiecinski is of those live acts you have to see to believe.

“I’ve always asked myself: how can I put everything I have into the shows I create? How can I push this forward for myself? How can I create new challenges?” he says. “It’s all about growth. Without it, I can’t move forward.”

Each performance is a high-energy vacation to boogie wonderland, with the occasional detour down memory lane as GRiZ seamlessly melds the sounds of Motown, heavy bass, and funk into one powerful package. His unique show has enabled the Detroit-native to bridge the gap between electronic and live fanbases, as he’s become a regular at multi-genre festivals like Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, where this month in addition to playing a prime time slot, he’ll also lead the highly anticipated SuperJam. During Bonnaroo’s signature SuperJam sessions, artists rock out with a little help from their homies. GRiZ is the deadringer for ‘host with the most’.

2019 has been an important year for Kwiecinski, who released his first album in almost three years. With ‘Ride Waves’ comes a fresh stage show and North American/European summer tour, featuring an expertly coordinated visual component as well as the premiere of some never-before-seen talents. Kwiecinski sings live on the mic for the first time on tracks like ‘Can’t Get Enough’, one of the lead singles from the new album. While he says the thought of singing live originally shook his nerves, he’s since embraced his fears.

“I feel like I’m constantly outdoing myself, and just when we get mildly comfortable with creating a whole new feeling for the GRiZ show, I delete everything and start fresh. That’s the best way for me. Learn from what I do, and start over from a clean slate,” he explains. “With each new adventure I gain a whole skill set, which will take me to places I would have never been able to get to before. It’s all about unlocking and opening as many doors to the future as possible. I never want to feel boxed in.”

In terms of productivity, GRiZ is on a roll right now. “I have never felt more motivated in the energy of the present moment,” he says with excitement. “I’ve got today, right now, and I’m going to make the most I possibly can of it! My soul is thriving in the process. I’m all do right now. Do and do more. Ain’t no rest these days, and I’m completely cool with that.”

Later this year he’ll reprise his 12 Days of GRiZmas series in his hometown, a charitable endeavor that has raised more than $100,000 for local schools in Detroit.

Words: Megan Venzin

Best Label
Mad Decent

Other nominees: Dark Entries Records, Ghostly International, Razor-N-Tape, Tri Angle

Founded by Diplo in 2006, Mad Decent has maintained a diverse sound and standard of excellence that sees it win this year’s Best Label award...

Mad Decent president Jasper Goggins refers to his label’s sound as encompassing nothing less than “worldwide dance music.”

“I would like to think that listeners recognize the wide scope of music Mad Decent releases,” Goggins says. “People generally expect independent labels to stick to a singular sound, but Mad Decent has always followed the path of releasing music we like, regardless of genre.”

The global bent of 2019’s Best Label winner has meant one doesn’t need to look too far to find a Mad Decent devotee. Since its founding by Diplo more than 10 years ago, Mad Decent has managed the delicate balance of pushing dance music forward while grounding itself in the lived experience of artists and fans from around the world. This trick of presenting the familiar in foreign contexts has allowed Mad Decent to stay continually fresh without sacrificing its promise of authenticity.

“The label was born in [the] regional sounds of Baile funk and Baltimore club, and despite the homogenization of producer’s palettes over the years, we still try to find artists that have strong roots in a unique sound — localized artists with a global sensibility,” Goggins says. He parallels Mad Decent’s own ethos to that of Diplo’s inclusive sensibilities: “He takes influence from local music scenes to make global sounding records, and we try to find local artists who may be harboring broader appeal and help them amplify their work.”

With a roster that includes the likes Valentino Khan and Anna Lunoe alongside more offbeat offering from artists such as Omar Souleyman and Foodman, the label’s future looks brighter than its unpretentious name would lead you to believe. “Our goal is to always to release music that falls at the intersection of commercially viable, forward-thinking and musically curious,” Goggins says. “The ultimate ambition is to have a worldwide smash that doesn’t sound like anything else, and then use that success to nurture all of the smaller projects that we love.”

Words: Zach Schlein

Breakthrough Label
100% Silk

Other nominees: Country Club Disco, FTP, In Toto & Jack Dept

With releases from Bludwork, Olsen, The Cyclist and the late, great Cherushii in the past year alone, Not Not Fun offshoot, 100% Silk, lands a well-deserved Breakthrough Label win...

100% Silk has spent the last few years endearing itself to the dancefloor-minded and bedroom dancers alike around the world by rejecting the trappings of traditional genre classifications. Even if it took nearly a decade to do so, 100% Silk’s experimental releases have placed the label at the forefront of forward-thinking dance music. Amanda Kramer, who co-founded the label in 2011, says it has never wavered from “taking chances on new and less established artists... believing in people over profit [and] remembering what matters.”

“Our background is underground tape culture, not techno clubs, so the orthodoxy of what can or can’t be played for a dancefloor has never interested us much,” she says. “In our experience, at the best shows with the best vibes, anything is possible. We release music imagining an ideal listener, not skeptical masses.”

Beyond triumphing on the strength of their output, 100% Silk also had to overcome the tragedy of the 2016 fire at Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse, which claimed the lives of several label acts, including Cherushii, also known as Chelsea Faith Dolan. Kramer says the February release of Cherushii’s collaboration with fellow 100% Silk act Maria Minerva was a massive personal undertaking for the label.

“Nothing diminishes the pain of that loss, but seeing people finally cherish Chelsea’s music the way she always dreamed for has been beyond bittersweet,” says Kramer. “It would have meant so much to her.”

Even with the accolades, Kramer says 100% Silk’s mindset moving forward is “one of survival and sustaining.”

“The past few years have been uniquely heavy, with more and more people quitting or burning out, for any number of legitimate reasons,” she says. “To stay committed to the uphill task of running a niche, fully financially independent record label in the streaming content glut of 2019 is no small thing. We feel lucky to continue loving doing it.”

Words: Zach Schlein

Breakthrough DJ
ATTLAS

Other nominees: Bedouin, Eris Drew, Jayda G,  Justin Cudmore

Rising Canadian ATTLAS has been making an impact via releases for Mau5trap and gigs across North America, and that’s reflected in his Breakthrough DJ win...

Since he remixed Deadmau5’s ‘Aural Psynapse’ in 2014, Canadian DJ, producer and musician Jeff Hartford, aka ATTLAS, has been gradually becoming one of Mau5strap’s most-celebrated artists. Fast-forward five years and the rising star already has a number of stellar releases via Deadmau5’s imprint, along with gigs at NYC’s Output, Chicago’s Smartbar and Stereo Montréal under his belt. And now you the voting public have crowned this classically-trained musician as North America’s Breakthrough DJ of 2019.

“It’s really humbling to win this,” says Hartford. “To be nominated with the diverse field of artists pushing themselves and their music forward means a ton. To win is a chance to pause and appreciate having the guts to be yourself, and to give you that extra jolt of confidence to keep growing in the way that makes you the man, the musician you want to be.”

Aside from winning the award, ATTLAS has another ace up his sleeve, as the rising artist is about to release the third installment of his Storyline mix series, featuring tracks from his forthcoming debut album.

Drawing influences from John Coltrane, Four Tet and The Field, the LP sees ATTLAS “push myself as a musician and producer to articulate something that could only come from my life, my head, my heart,” he explains. “It will lay the groundwork for the second half of the year’s performances and creativity, which very much will lean bigger and grander into what my version of music and storytelling is growing into.”

Words: Mira Karadjova

Breakthrough Producer
J.Worra

Other nominees: Baltra, Ciel, LSDXOXO, Textasy

From a small town near Chicago to the bright lights of Los Angeles, J. Worra has built herself up to be one of tech-house’s brightest new stars, and earned the Breakthrough Producer award for her efforts...

J. Worra has been working toward earning the title of Breakthrough Producer since adolescence, during which she spent her years teaching herself instruments like guitar and piano. In recent years, the rising star has become one of dance music’s most hotly-tipped names in tech-house, with releases on labels including Sweat It Out!, Perfect Driver and In/Rotation. Having remixed the likes of Deadmau5 and Kaskade on their respective Mau5trap and Arkade imprints, Worra is a technical wizard who continues to evolve and hone her sound.

“It means a lot, more than I can put into words,” she says of winning the title at this year’s Best of North America awards. “I have my head down grinding day in and day out and I don’t really stop to think about accolades like this, so to know that people are paying attention and noticing my artistry is all I could ask for.”

Worra has showcased her brand of fizzy, bass-fueled beats on the stages of Coachella, Holy Ship!, Lightning In A Bottle, Dirtybird Campout, HARD Summer, Splash House, Beyond Wonderland, Moonrise and Elements Lakewood, to name a few. In the last year alone, she’s spun jacking sets to packed-out audiences in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Denver and Las Vegas, touting her groovy Chicago roots and extensive arsenal of tunes. Worra will continue powering through 2019, building both her own musical catalog and the records she’s releasing on her Arrow Recordings label.

“I have a bunch records to release in 2019, that has really been the priority this year,” she explains. “I want to make sure everyone knows me as an artist and what I am capable of. I may even have a few surprises up my sleeve!”

Words: Jaime Sloan

Best Album
REZZ ‘Certain Kind Of Magic’ [Mau5trap]

Other nominees: 
Kamasi Washington ‘Heaven & Earth’ [Young Turks]
Lotic ‘Power’ [Tri Angle]
Mariel Ito ‘2000-2005’ [R&S Records]
Zhu ‘Ringos Desert’ [Mind of a Genius]

 

Canadian producer REZZ proves it isn’t just her signature specs that have got dance music fans hypnotised over the last 12 months...

Brimming with mesmerizing basslines and trippy progressions, REZZ’s sophomore LP ‘Certain Kind Of Magic’ is exactly what the title claims it to be. When the eight-track collection dropped last August, it was proof that the prolific producer had come to play. Dripping with distortion and the delicious glitches we’ve come to expect from the Mau5trap maven, ‘Certain Kind Of Magic’ is an evolution of everything we loved about 2017’s ‘Mass Manipulation’ and then some.

Featuring guest appearances from numerous emerging producers, ‘Certain Kind of Magic’ showcases REZZ’s talents as a competent collaborator as well. ‘H E X’, which she co-produced with rising star 1788-L, incorporates elements of drum & bass, marking fresh territory for the girl in the glowing glasses. Meanwhile, the melodic drive of ‘Teleportal’ (co-produced with fellow Canadian, Kotek) demonstrates REZZ’s ability to deftly straddle the lighter and darker qualities of her sound.

Last year, a 23-year-old Isabelle Rezazadeh told DJ Mag, “I’ve accomplished so many of the goals I set for myself when I was 18. Now I have to think about the next set of goals. Because I’m not going to stop here.” ‘Certain Kind of Magic’ exemplifies her relentless determination. If winning a Best of North America Award was one of her new aspirations, she can certainly mark that one off of her list now.

Words: Megan Venzin
Photo: William Selviz

Best Track
Claude VonStroke ‘Maharaja’ [Dirtybird]

Other nominees:
NGHTMRE & Big Gigantic ‘Like That’ [Mad Decent]
Marie Davidson ‘Work It’ [Ninja Tune]
Peach ‘Silky’ [Intergraded]
RL Grime ‘I Wanna Know’ [WeDidIt]

Dirtybird bossman Claude VonStroke is no stranger to the Best of North America awards, now adding a Best Track win to the Best DJ, Best Label and Best Compilation trophies he’s already collected...

“I’m very pleased,” says Barclay Crenshaw, better known as Claude VonStroke, when he learns his track ‘Maharaja’ is the winner in the Best Track category of the Best of North America awards this year. “Especially to get it for an electro breaks track in a time where tech-house seems to have taken over the entire world,” he adds. Inspired by classic electro — a genre that played a key role in Crenshaw’s formative years, and which has enjoyed a huge revival over the past few years — ‘Maharaja’ is not your typical peak-time festival banger. It’s a beast of a track, however, channeling those old school vibes via snappy, yet spacious, percussion, and rumbling low-end.

Created especially for his headlining gig at Movement Detroit in 2018, ‘Maharaja’ was first debuted at the festival and later released as part of the live recording of his set. Called ‘Live In Detroit’, the 85-minute live album featured nothing but special versions, unreleased tunes and secret edits.

But the Best Track trophy is hardly the last news you’ll get about Crenshaw this year. Aside from a forthcoming single on Carl Craig’s ‘Detroit Love’ compilation and a collaboration with ZDS & KE on his own Dirtybird imprint, he also has “another EP in fall and then a new album at the top of next year,” he says, adding, “Maybe some other surprises this year as well.” Expect more big things in 2019, then.

Words: Mira Karadjova

Best Remix
Sophie Lloyd ‘Calling Out feat. Dames Brown (Floorplan Extended Club Remix)’

Other Nominees:
Cygnus ‘Iaafos Blank Mix (Textasy Dance Floor Dub)’ [Craigie Knowes]
Pendulum ‘The Island – Pt. I (Dawn) (Skrillex Remix)’ [Earstorm]
The Glitch Mob ‘Disintigrate Slowly (1788-L Remix)’ [Glass Air]
FaltyDL ‘If All the People Took Acid (Octo Octa Loop Me into Infinity Remix)’ [Blueberry Recs]

Two years on from Robert Hood’s daughter Lyric officially joining him as part of Floorplan, the pair win Best Remix for this gospel house slammer...

When Sophie Lloyd’s mighty gospel anthem ‘Calling Out’ first came out on vinyl in early 2018, it sold out almost instantly. That can hardly be a surprise; its powerful gospel vocal, catchy melody, electrifying piano synths and spiritual lyrics tick all the boxes of a hands-in- the-air house anthem.

While many producers might have a hard time giving the remix treatment to such a powerful original, Robert Hood and his daughter Lyric, aka Floorplan, must have felt right at home. Having produced timeless classics like ‘We Magnify His Name’, ‘Made Up In My Mind’ and ‘Never Grow Old’, ordained minister Robert Hood has proven he’s a true master of spiritual house music. This time around the Hoods hit a home run with their two uplifting remixes of ‘Calling Out’, both worthy of the gong in the remix category of DJ Mag’s Best of North America awards. The ‘Extended Club’ remix sees the Detroit duo speeding things up, transforming the track into a club-ready house hit. The ‘Revival’ remix, in turn, keeps the gospel feel of the original, while adding a classic house twist to it.

“It’s an incredible honor and blessing, not to mention feeling,” says Robert when we let Floorplan know they’ve won the award. “We thank God for this opportunity and I also thank the fans for support.” Stay tuned for new Floorplan music and solo projects from both the Hoods.

Words: Mira Karadjova

 

Best Club/Event Series
Piknic Électronik Montréal, QC, Canada

Other nominees:
Prototype, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Unter, New York City, NY, USA
We Still Believe, USA
QUEEN!, Chicago, IL, USA

Now into its 17th season, Canadian daytime party Piknic Électronik is officially the Best Club Event/Series in North America...

Launched in 2003, Piknic Électronik has earned its position among Montréal’s most loved outdoor parties. This summer, the event series takes over the Parc Jean-Drapeau for 21 events from May 19 to September 29. The 17th season’s line-up features a mix of festival headliners, burgeoning underground talent and local heroes, with highlights including Dubfire, Loco Dice, Octo Octa, Octave One, Courtesy, SAMA’, Ellen Allien and KiNK. Piknic Électronik’s 2019 season will also be marked by the party’s triumph in DJ Mag’s Best Of North America Awards in the Best Club Event/Series category.

“It’s simply amazing, we were thrilled to get nominated in the first place and happily surprised that we actually won,” says Nicolas Cournoyer, one of the daytime event’s co- founders. In addition to a big audience in Montréal, the sun-kissed party series has also been building its reputation abroad, by adding satellite events in Barcelona, Melbourne, Dubai, Santiago and the United States throughout the years.

“After our first American Piknic last fall in Austin, we’re thrilled to launch Piknic Électronik Paris this summer,” Cournoyer says. “We’re really looking forward to yet another summer of great music and even better vibes.”

Words: Mira Karadjova

Best Large Club
Echostage Washington D.C., USA

Other Nominees:
Club Space, Miami, FL, USA
Elsewhere, New York City, NY, USA
Exchange LA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
New City Gas, Montréal, QC, Canada

Having jumped up to second place in our 2019 Top 100 Clubs poll, Echostage also goes home with the Best Large Club award in this year’s BoNAs...

Known as Washington, D.C.’s largest nightlife concert venue, the last 12 months has seen Echostage once again prove why it’s one of the best-loved clubs in North America. The 30,000-square-foot space was launched in 2012, having been taken over by a group led by Panorama Productions and Club Glow. The crew immediately began renovations, installing a German-imported D&B Audiotechnik V series soundsystem — the first of its kind on the East Coast — slick LED visual displays, and an interior designed around providing unobstructed views of the stage from anywhere in the club. Two massive bars running along each side of the dancefloor keep thirsty clubbers happy and back in the action without hassle, while a photo pit next to the stage gives revelers the chance to snap the likes of David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Armin van Buuren, Hardwell or Tiësto without getting in anyone’s way.

“We built Echostage as a concert venue for high-caliber artists. And as a result, those artists are always impressed with the site and the quality of our production here,” co-owner Antonis Pete Kalamoutsos says.

It’s not just A-listers from EDM who are impressed either. Last year saw the likes of Green Velvet, Claude VonStroke, Shiba San, Carl Cox and Gorgon City play Echostage. And over the coming months, the likes of Disclosure, Flux Pavilion, Steve Aoki, Machine Gun Kelly, Markus Schulz, Paul Oakenfold, Martin Garrix, and Sasha & John Digweed are all slated to play the massive space.

Words: Chandler Shortlidge

Best Small Club
Coda, Toronto, ON, Canada

Other nominees:
Floyd, Miami, FL, USA
Good Room, New York City, NY, USA
Halcyon, San Francisco, CA, USA
Smartbar, Chicago, IL, USA

Toronto staple Coda earns a second Best of North America win, claiming the Small Club gong in our new condensed club categories...

After launching in 2014, Toronto’s Coda quickly established itself as a hub for house and techno in Canada. And with its second BoNA win in a row this year, it seems Coda’s reputation has grown beyond its Canadian borders — though it’s easy to see why.

2018 saw an all-star cast of European, UK and North American dance music talent, including South Korean spinner Peggy Gou, Ibiza mainstay Hot Since 82, BoNA Best DJ winner Honey Dijon, plus DVS1, Marcel Dettmann, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Chris Liebing and Rødhåd, the latter of whom made his first Canadian appearance in three years at the club.

Though it’s not just the A-listers that make Coda such a great club. The venue takes great care in providing the best sound and decor, with its monstrous, custom, state-of- the-art PK soundsystem keeping both fans and artists returning year after year.

“We’ve poured so much heart, soul and energy in to this room,” a rep from Coda says, and it shows. But any great club also knows it’s sometimes about the little things, which is why Coda offers delicious treats like tacos, pan-fried cheese perogies, and southern fried chicken tenders for an affordable price.

The coming year already has plenty of big names lined up, with Denis Sulta, Black Motion, Len Faki, Paco Osuna, and PAWSA set to perform. After five years of exceptional music, sound, vibes and everything else, we can’t wait to see what’s next for this Toronto institution.

Words: Chandler Shortlidge

Best Music Festival
Shambhala, BC, Canada

Other nominees:
Coachella, CA, USA
Movement, MI, USA
Lightning In A Bottle, CA, USA
Bonnaroo, TN, USA

Twenty-two years deep, Canadian fest Shambhala has more than made its mark on the North American electronic music scene, and now has the Best Festival award to prove it...

HIDDEN AWAY on a private farm in British Columbia is Shambhala Music Festival, a mythical, dance music haven that’s more than worth the trek. Now in its 22nd year, the annual event consistently offers a stacked line-up. The production at Shambhala, which touts larger-than-life stages, climbable structures, state-of-the-art projection mapping and cutting-edge sound, is unlike anything else on the continent.

“It is absolutely incredible and humbling to win this award,” says founder and owner of Shambhala, Jimmy Bundschuh. “Having started as a dance party in the forest with 300 people in 1998 to being voted as the Best Festival in North America by DJ Mag 22 years later, we really are just blown away and honored.”

Attendees can expect magical art installations, transformative workshops, yoga classes and other activities that make Shambhala feel more like an ephemeral city than just another music festival.

This year’s Shambhala will take place August 9-12, and boasts what organizers are calling their best line-up to date, with acts like Chase & Status, Silk City, Bonobo and FKJ sitting high on the roster. The close-knit community that thrives at Shambhala is one of many reasons why some attendees lovingly refer to it not just as a festival but as “home.” “We are counting down the days until we are reunited with our ‘Farmily’ deep in the British Columbia wilderness,” says Bundschuh.

Words: Megan Venzin

Best Boutique Festival
Bass Coast, BC, Canada

Other nominees:
Sustain-Release, NY, USA
Holy Ship!, FL, USA
Elements Lakewood, PA, USA
Seismic Dance Event, TX USA

 

With a focus on art, well-being and, of course, bass-heavy beats, Canadian getaway Bass Coast claims this year’s Best Boutique Festival crown...

Collaborative, immersive and built with love, Bass Coast has emerged as Canada’s favorite artist-owned and operated festival. Its founders, Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson, have been at the helm of the art-focused gathering in beautiful Merritt, BC, Canada since 2009.

Don’t let the name fool you. This diverse festival appeals to bass-heads, and everyone else too. The 2019 line-up features house names like Nightmares On Wax and Claude VonStroke, in addition to groundbreaking bass artists like G Jones, Alix Perez and Madam X. From July 12-15, they will join visual and performance artists to form the 11th annual installment of what fans have dubbed a “living art exhibition.”

Mindful by design, Bass Coast’s Reset Resort is a place of solace for those who choose to abstain from substances during the event. Twice-daily workshops at The Brain offer support to sober partiers, as well as friends who want information on how to foster a positive recovery journey.

“Many people speak about how special the vibe is at Bass Coast,” Graham and Thomson tell DJ Mag. “We want to credit all of you who come, who build, who perform, who work, and who volunteer for creating the vibe that makes Bass Coast stand out. Every person onsite contributed to Bass Coast achieving this recognition. We are all Bass Coast.”

Words: Megan Venzin