Carl Cox has won the Highest Techno award in this year’s DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll. The British icon landed the No.53 spot overall.
A titan of the worldwide electronic music scene, Cox 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.
There was over 1.2 million votes in this year’s poll, an increase of nearly 200,000 on 2017. The most votes came from the USA, followed by the UK, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Spain.
In the top 10, there isn’t a great deal of movement. Belgian brothers Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike (the Highest Group) hold steady at No.2, while Hardwell leapfrogs over Armin van Buuren to claim the No.3 slot, despite — or perhaps because of — announcing that he’s stopping touring for an indefinite period. ASOT man Armin, of course, remains the Highest Trance DJ at No.4 — he hasn’t finished out of the top four for the last 13 years.
David Guetta has had a good year, jumping up two places to No.5 — overtaking Tiësto in the process. But the big news in the top 10 is Don Diablo jumping four places to claim the No.7 slot, and cementing his place in the big league — claiming the Highest Future House DJ award in the process. Afrojack and Marshmello hold steady at No.8 and No.10 respectively, while Oliver Heldens — who slid out of the top 10 last year — jumps four places to finish at No.9. Steve Aoki slips down two places to No.11, while the biggest surprise in the top 10 is The Chainsmokers sliding down from No.6 last year to this year’s No.31.
Just outside the top 10, R3hab and Alok are both up six places to No.12 and No.13 respectively, while W&W are non-movers at No.14. DVBBS, Lost Frequencies and Vintage Culture are all up a respectable amount of places, while — off the back of his perpetually sold-out Ibiza residency — Pryda man Eric Prydz soars into the top 20. But the standout placing here is Avicii at No.15. The dance world was shocked by his untimely passing earlier this year, and tens of thousands of his fans voted for him in 2018 to ensure that his legacy isn’t forgotten.
Just outside the top 20, Fedde Le Grand and Ummet Ozcan are up 17 and 15 places respectively, while Quintino, Vinai and Bassjackers are also up. NERVO are the highest placed female DJs at No. 27, up a healthy 15 places, while masked hardcore hero Angerfist rams up 11 places to No.29. It’s not quite enough for him to reclaim the Highest Hard DJ accolade from Headhunterz, though — his fellow Dutchman places just one spot above him at No.28. It hasn’t been a great year for votes for other hardstyle DJs, though — Radical Redemption and Brennan Heart are both down considerably, while Ukranian DJ hardcore techno Miss K8 slips seven places to No.65.
There’s two more women in the poll compared to last year, which is another small step in the right direction. Apart from NERVO and Miss K8, Mariana BO — complete with her violin — is up 16 places and Alison Wonderland is still in the nineties, but they’ve been joined in the 100 by MATTN, who is the Highest New Entry overall at No.72, and the inimitable Nina Kraviz, who makes a welcome debut appearance at No.97. Let’s hope that even more women are voted into the Top 100 next year.
Other new entries include Breathe Carolina, NGHTMRE, Rave Republic and Slander, while stalwart scene producers Cedric Gervais and KO:YU — Deniz Koyu’s new name — jump into the chart for the first time. New names in the list from the world of techno include Adam Beyer and Marco Carola, whilst Richie Hawtin is up 19 to No.61.
There’s quite a few re-entries too, proving that sliding out of the Top 100 doesn’t mean that you are gone forever. Daddy’s Groove, Wildstylez, MaRLo, Deorro, Bobina and Markus Schulz have all bounced back in, and the Highest Re-Entry is Swedish House Mafia — despite only playing one show together all year, at Ultra Miami. With more shows and music hinted at for next year, it’s a safe bet that they’ll soar back up the chart in 2019. The return of SHM has had contrasting fortunes for its individual members, though. Steve Angello is up 24 places to No.58, but Axwell & Ingrosso are down 20 places to No.41.
The Highest Climber this year is Israeli psy-trance duo Vini Vici — up 38 places to No.34 — and other acts who have jumped 10 places or more include Danny Avila, Timmy Trumpet, Yellow Claw, Cat Dealers, Martin Jensen, Will Sparks, Robin Schulz, Andrew Rayel, Swanky Tunes, Mosimann and Tchami. Ferry Corsten, who has been in the Top 100 for the best part of 20 years, rides trance’s continued revival by twerking up 15 places to No.75, while Claptone is up 12 places to again claim the Highest House award.
The unstoppable Andy C once again claims the Highest Drum & Bass DJ award in this year’s poll. Following the widening of the voting process using a 2FA SMS login option for markets without Facebook, there’s been a 28% increase in votes from China. This has undoubtedly helped the top two Chinese DJs — Carta and DJ L — climb 19 and 14 places respectively, while other areas in Asia — including Japan, Vietnam and Thailand — all saw similar increases.
The territory that yielded the highest number of votes was again the USA, with the UK, Brazil and Mexico ranking next, closely followed by the central European countries of Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Spain. During the voting process, DJ Mag's website saw 61 million pages viewed.
Check out the full DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll results here.
Rob McCallum is DJ Mag’s deputy digital editor. Follow him on Twitter here.