He’s been sliding around the Top 100 for some time now, but Laidback Luke wasn’t about to let himself be phased by last year’s results. “Funnily enough, after dropping to position 50 last year, this year seemed to be my busiest year ever,” recalls the big room house producer — Lucas Cornelis van Scheppingen, as he’s known off stage.
He’s been on more than one of those this summer — Tomorrowland, Ultra, EDC, to name a few — and produces incessantly for labels like Size, Fool's Gold as well as his own Mixmash. Having also just announced his first album in ten years, ‘Focus’, we’re questioning whether the first half of his name is really necessary.
Despite his status as successful DJ and producer in his own right, the Philippines-born, Holland-raised artist doesn’t look down on those who use ghost producers. “DJing and producing are two totally separate entities,” he goes on to say. “Just because you're a good producer with big hits, doesn't mean you know how to work a crowd properly and that you're able to take the crowd on a musical journey. And vice versa, just because you're a great DJ, doesn't mean you'll be an amazing producer.”
You heard it here first.
With even a periphery knowledge of dance music, you'd be strapped to find a keen clubber who'd never heard the name Carl Cox. Adored by loyal fans the globe over, Cox has been a guiding light in the underground for over two decades, headlining Space in Ibiza every year for as long as anyone would care to remember.
But all that's about to change. “Next year will be my last year at Space Ibiza, so please do not miss a single night if you can, very special line-ups for 15 weeks,” he tells us when we talk Top100.
Ibiza gigs aside, Cox has spent much of 2015 running his successful INTEC imprint, alongside fellow techno don Jon Rundell, with releases from Christian Varela, Ramiro Lopez, Joe Brunning, Harvey McKay and many, many more.
“I have been working on collabs and remixes with some great artists,” he promises when we hint at his plans for next year. With new material scheduled for the start of 2016, Carl says: “Watch this space!”
CHARLOTTE LUCY CIJFFERS
It’s not only America that’s currently experiencing a dance music epiphany. India — and its population of 1.25 billion people — is beginning to demand the world’s biggest DJs, and Mumbai’s DJ Chetas has been riding this cultural explosion since 2012.
What makes Indian dance music — and DJ Chetas’ music in particular — an interesting proposition is that it’s a cross-pollination of traditional Indian music with western club culture. And that’s where DJ Chetas has built his huge following — by incorporating the best of Bollywood vocals into big-room mash-ups that have been a huge hit in his native India.
While it might not be to everybody’s taste, there’s no denying the popularity of DJ Chetas, and dance music in general in India. In addition, DJ Chetas is using his considerable influence, time and money to create a network of music schools in India to give studio time to those who might not be able to afford it.
With the likes of Diplo and Steve Aoki now regularly touring in India, and a growing middle class hungry for big-name DJs (and dance music in general), India represents a huge new market, ripe with potential for its own artists and touring DJs from around the world. DJ Chetas is merely a product of this explosion, and we fully expect to see more and more DJs from South Asia breaking into the Top 100 DJs poll in the coming years. “With a DJ Mag Top 100 tag, this opens up a whole new international market to bring Indian sounds too!” the man himself enthuses.
“I wish I had more time to do everything I have in my mind. I wish the days had 48 hours,” Diego Miranda tells DJ Mag. It’s not surprising to hear that the Portuguese DJ is hard-pressed for time. He’s been much in-demand, not just in his home country but also in Brazil which he considers his “second home”, playing there — and across South America — several times a year.
What free time Miranda’s had in the past year, he’s spent in the studio. Aside from making it into the Beatport Top 20 with ‘Tequila’, Miranda’s biggest hit so far has been ’Turn The Lights Out’. The single, featuring singer Mikkel Solnado, has received heavy radio play in his home nation, no doubt down to its anthemic, sing-a-long hook.
Miranda’s popularity in South America is also beginning to spread over to North America, thanks in part to his recent remix of Tara McDonald and Snoop Dogg’s ‘VAY-K’, topping off what’s been a great year for the DJ.
Swedish producer Eric Prydz is a chameleon. Whether he's dipping his toes in the underground as Cirez D, or entertaining the main room masses with his Eric Prydz moniker, the Swede has captured the hearts of dance fans worldwide.
It's with his recent show EPIC that he's won the minds of the US market — the touring show featured the globe's biggest hologram, stunning stage production (including an impressive 32 lasers), plus a slew of big room tracks penned by Prydz himself.
Since he took over NYC’s Madison Square Garden with the show last September, the veteran DJ/producer hasn't stopped — next up he'll play LA's Escape festival and EDC in Orlando, before a headline set at Space in Miami.
Unlike other main room DJs, Prydz insists that he never 'plans' his sets (he spilled the beans in an interview with DJ Liquid Todd at EDC Las Vegas earlier this year), preferring to read the vibe of the room on the day.
Aside from his work as Eric Prydz, the Swede's other moniker (and imprint of the same name), Pryda, is still going strong, with his latest release 'PRYDA 10' smashing the Beatport charts with ease. It was so successful that it hit a new milestone for the influential label — 'PRYDA 10' is currently the highest selling release in the imprint's eleven-year history.
Then there's his all-new, exclusive and bi-monthly Beats 1 radio show that aired to acclaim earlier this month, and featured two hours of unreleased productions spanning his Prydz, Pryda, and Cirez D aliases.
New tracks included 'Multo' and a private edit of Adventure’s 'Rio', with fans hypothesising that these might feature on Prydz's upcoming debut LP. The as-yet-unnamed record is tipped to drop sometime before the end of the year, as well as an upcoming Cirez D release 'Vol. D' that's also in the pipeline from the producer.
CHARLOTTE LUCY CIJFFERS
Andre Tanneberger, aka ATB, has come a long way since his UK No.1, ‘9PM (Till I Come)’. In the almost 20 years since the smash hit, that additionally found fame after being featured in cult Ibiza rave flick Kevin & Perry Go Large, the German producer has repackaged himself as a big room killer, playing sets like Ultra USA and Europe, EDC and Tomorrowland.
His productions have undergone a similar metamorphosis, though he’s still staying true to the excellent studio standards that first helped garner him respect in the early noughties.
“I think I can't hide my influences from the past, but it's very important for me to get into today's culture with my sound. However, I also think that my experiences from the past have shaped my unique sound — so I am grateful for all of this,” he told Ministry Of Sound back in July.
No matter what style he's producing — ATB has also released multiple times on Armin van Buuren's A State Of Trance imprint thanks to his roots in prog and trance — the German shows no signs of slowing down.
For Markus Schulz, life imitates art. Or rather, fantasy. The self-styled unicorn-slayer of trance has found his moniker has presented some surreal encounters in recent years. “Now it’s gotten so big, I don’t know where it’s going to end. I played a show at Avalon in Los Angeles a few years ago and they had a full life-size unicorn statue at the front of the club!”
In 2015 he’s focused on his City Series project, making a track a month dedicated to his favourite worldwide clubs or festivals. He’s also excited by the ongoing success of his New World Punx project with Ferry Corsten.
“We’ve made even more strides this year, highlighted by the first-ever performance at the legendary Coachella festival. We have a few dates together before the year rounds out — in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Moscow and of course the Top 100 DJs party for DJ Mag in Minsk on 29th November.”
2015 has been a big one for Steve and Ruben, aka the notorious Wolfpack. Not only did the Belgian duo tour Asia for the first time — an experience they describe as “very cool” — but also happened to score two massive hits. Firstly, back in August, Wolfpack teamed up with Funk D and the don dada of booming vocals, Fatman Scoop, for the huge 'Drop The Smiley'.
Then the following month, 'Ocarina' — the pair's beloved Tomorrowland Anthem collaboration with fellow Antwerpians, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike — got the remix treatment from Klaas & Mazza. That track has already catapulted through the rankings to become Wolfpack's second most popular release on Beatport.
Speaking of Tomorrowland, Wolfpack also happened to play the first ever South American edition of the festival earlier this year, as São Paulo spent four days as the global epicentre of EDM. Still signed and releasing through Dimi and Mike's scene-shaping Smash The House imprint, and having now appeared in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll for two years running, Wolfpack can stride confidently into 2016.
From his early UK chart success with 'Out Of The Blue' under his System F alias to creating a raft of timeless trance anthems alongside Tiesto as Gouryella, Rotterdam's Ferry Corsten has been around in one guise or another for 26 years.
During his impressively long career Corsten has released four studio albums — including the excellent 'Fire' which saw the trance DJ experiment with more hard-edged electro influences including an excellent collaboration alongside Gangstarr's Guru, for 'Junk'.
But it will always be his work as Gouryella — alongside Tiesto — that many of us will remember the producer for, and in 2015 — some 16 years after they wrote the trance rule book — Corsten decided to bring back his Gouryella alias, albeit without the help of Tiesto, for 'Anahera'; a classic cut of uplifting trance that was pure fan-service.
A permanent fixture in the Top 100 DJs poll since its inception, Corsten is the only Dutch trance heavyweight to have missed out on being crowned the world's No.1 DJ back in the day, just missing out in 2004 when he reached the No.4 spot. Since then he has been in the top ten six times, and despite slipping to No.91 in the poll last year he has rallied a bit in 2015.
The duo of Ruben Den Boer and Victor Pool, aka Vicetone,inject a strong affinity with melody into their main stage EDM productions, and describe the past year as the “biggest in our short career so far”.
While they’ve been responsible for several polished hits on goliath stables like Spinnin’, Ultra and Dim Mak, their landmark achievement since they placed in last year’s Top 100 DJs poll was producing the rather epic and emotional soundtrack for the Ultra Music Festival 2014 after-movie, the rather epic and emotive 15-minute ‘United We Dance’.
“It was the biggest project of our lives,” they say of the after-movie that dropped last November. “We worked closely with the Ultra team, and it was a challenging project since the music had to evolve over time, and change from dance music into an orchestral soundtrack.
It was a big accomplishment for us and it really pushed our creativity. It’s gotten millions of plays by now and has become one of the most requested songs in our sets. It’s definitely been a highlight.”
Otherwise, it’s also been full speed ahead for Vicetone this year. They’ve toured a whole stack of new countries and territories, including a variety of spots throughout Asia where they point to a booming dance scene, as well as beginning their own Vicetone Records imprint, which they say has opened up the possibility of experimenting outside of their normal release schedule.