Headhunterz has won the Highest Hard award in this year’s DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll. The Dutch DJ/producer landed the No. 29 spot overall.
Headhunterz – real name Willem Rebergen – has been flying the flag for the hardstyle sound since 2005. In that time he’s steadily risen to the very top of the scene, creating a discography of releases characterised by epic synth riffs, a melodic sensibility and the relentless slam of his drum tracks on labels like Spinnin’, Hardwell’s Revealed Recordings, Ultra Music, Armada and more. Willem has put out three full-length artist albums too, including 2018’s very well received ‘The Return Of Headhunterz’, and aside from his own releases, he’s also remixed Armin van Buuren, Avicii, Kaskade, Hardwell and Nicky Romero.
Over the last decade he’s become a globe-trotting ambassador for hardstyle, DJing at Tomorrowland, Electric Daisy Carnival, Mysteryland and of course the Netherlands’ hardstyle festival Defqon.1. In tandem with long-time collaborator Wildstylez, 2018 saw the launch of Art Of Creation, a new label which has since put out music from Soundrush, Wildstylez and Project One, as well as a stream of big tunes from the man himself this year including vocal heart-wrencher ‘Oxygen’ and the epic vocal track ‘Follow Me’ featuring Eurielle and Ryan Louder.
The DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll is back and bigger than ever. In yet another record-breaking year, a whopping 1.3 million people cast their vote for their favourite DJs, that’s up 100,000 on last our 2018 poll. Once again Top 100 DJs partnered with UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation. Thanks to the kind donations of voters and DJs over the past three years, we have now raised over €112,000 for UNICEF. With this money UNICEF has been able to provide 150,000 life saving vaccinations to children in danger.
David Guetta jumps up two places to claim the bronze medal, and Armin van Buuren holds steady in fourth place, making this his 18th consecutive year inside the top five and claiming the Highest Trance award again in the process. Right behind him comes masked DJ Marshmello, climbing all the way from No.10 to make his first appearance in the top five, and Don Diablo — once again the Highest Future House DJ — is up one more spot into sixth. Dutchmen Tiësto and Afrojack both drop places but remain in the top 10, and Steve Aoki rounds off the list by climbing back up one place. The biggest change is Hardwell, who drops nine places down to No.12; however, given he’s currently on sabbatical, taking some time for himself this isn’t so surprising, and given all the talk of around mental health and the pressures of stardom this year we wish him all the best.
Moving down the poll and Brazilian favourite Alok is up two to No.11 — will he finally break the top 10 next year? R3HAB, W&W and Lost Frequencies each drop places, while KSHMR and Eric Prydz both climb three spots. The rest of the teenies is formed of three new additions in the form of Timmy Trumpet (up a whopping 20 spots to No.13, his highest placement yet), DJ Snake (up eight to 16) and Scotsman Calvin Harris (up 21 to 19th place).
Skrillex is unmoving at No.21, scooping the Highest Bass award once again in a year that’s seen him open his already teeming net of collaborators even further. Brit trance trio Above & Beyond are right behind him, hauling themselves up a huge 29 places, while NERVO remain the highest placing women in the chart at No.24. At the tail-end of the twenties, Headhunterz holds on to his Highest Hard trophy despite dropping one spot — his nearest competitor, Angerfist, this year down to 34th place.
In 35th comes the mighty Carl Cox, taking the Highest Techno gong again. Coxy is up 18 places, leading the charge for a new influx of house and techno artists. In fact, 2019 sees more house and techno artists in the Top 100 than there has been in almost a decade. Elsewhere, Drumcode boss Adam Beyer is up 31 places, just pushing into the top 50, while Claptone is up four and takes Highest House for the third year in a row. Nina Kraviz climbs a massive 37 places into 60th, while Richie Hawtin, Marco Carola, Paul Kalkbrenner, Solomun remain in the poll too. South Africa’s Black Coffee makes a welcome return after yet another successful season at Hï Ibiza, and there’s a host of new additions: rowdy tech-house lads FISHER — this year’s Highest New Entry — and Solardo join the poll, as do Belgian techno spinner Charlotte de Witte, South Korea’s Peggy Gou, and masked German Boris Brejcha.
The addition of de Witte and Gou show another step in the right direction when it comes to gender diversity in the Top 100. Mariana BO and MATTN have both gained ground rapidly this year — climbing 19 and 21 places, respectively — and Aussie-born bass DJ, Alison Wonderland, claims this year’s Highest Climber award after scooting up a colossal 52 places.
Other artists making double-figure leaps up the poll include ATB, Mike Williams, Ferry Corsten, Breathe Carolina, Deorro, Carl Nunes, Cedric Gervais, Lucas & Steve, and Andy C, who takes home Highest Drum & Bass once again. Swedish House Mafia are up 21 places too, though Steve Angello has taken a hit and Axwell Λ Ingrosso have dropped out altogether. Overall, there are 11 new entries (one more than in 2018), six re-entries — the highest being Belgium’s Yves V, at No.56 — and five non-movers.
Votes came in from 179 different countries, with the most votes recorded from the USA once again, followed by mainland Europe — the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany leading the charge. Latin America is close behind, where fans from Mexico and Brazil, in particular, have been voting in droves. In addition to Facebook and Google, the SMS voting mechanism continued to open up voting to anyone with a mobile phone, with around 15% of all votes coming from this login in 2019. This is perhaps best reflected in the increase of voters from China, which is now second behind India in terms of Asian voting regions. Elsewhere votes came in from countries such as Monaco, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, and Iraq.