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Poll 2020: Boris Brejcha

60
Boris Brejcha
Up
25
Masked German DJ and creator of the 'high-tech minimal' style, Boris Brejcha continues to leap up the poll after making his debut in 2019. As with everyone, he’s had a relatively quiet year, but Boris has made the most of not being on the road. “That gave me the time to come down,” he tells us. “I was able to spend a lot of time on my upcoming album and dedicate my free time to my family and my girlfriend.” 
 
Boris runs the FCKING SERIOUS label and events brand, which this year was supposed to hold a one-day festival in Velsen-Zuid, the Netherlands, in collaboration with Awakenings. With COVID-19 putting a stop to that, unfortunately, Boris explains his next big DJing project is a special live stream happening on 24th October. “A Boris Brejcha In Concert Show for the whole world,” he says. “Our crew is playing three times, for three different time zones, to give our fans the best experience we can create.”
 
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
 
“Cooking, producing music, being at home for the first time for so long and just relaxing, and to have more time for my family and girlfriend.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
“In the end, everyone decides for himself. I have learned for myself and also noticed how stressful the job can be. Therefore I think it is better to shift down a gear and to focus more on quality so that the fun does not get lost and always comes first.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
 
“I have often noticed that visitors are sometimes just fobbed off. But the guests should be the main focus. They are the engine of our culture. First and foremost, they should feel comfortable, and they should be given an experience that will remain in their memory.”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
 
“‘Insomnia’ by Faithless.”
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 16:38

Style: 
“High-tech minimal.”
Best known for: 
“Joker mask.”
Tune of the year: 
“‘Blinding Lights’ by The Weeknd.”

Poll 2020: Carta

61
Carta
Up
11

Hong Kong-born, Shanghai-based Carta started DJing at the tender age of 14, and by the age of 19 had become a driving force in China’s electronic music scene. His discography spans five years with releases on prolific labels such as Spinnin’, Fedde Le Grand’s Darklight Recordings and collaborations with the likes of Chocolate Puma and remixes for Aloe Blacc.

During his early years of DJing he became a resident at Shanghai's M18 nightclub, and regularly played across China’s most famed venues. Last year was one of his most monumental to date, playing in Amsterdam, America and the UK. This year he’s been focused intently on his productions and has even started three new aliases. “One being the Chinese Bounce Mafia with Luminn and Unity, and it has already become the biggest thing in China overnight, so keep an eye out for that globally,” he tells DJ Mag. “I also have a melodic techno project with Luminn separately called RKTKS.” 

 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Meditation, meditation and meditation. It is by far one of the most powerful tools and skills you can learn in life.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis? 

“In general, don’t take things for granted. When it comes to DJs, don’t rely on your live income. Make sure that the money you earn(ed) is spent wisely and when possible, invest it to make sure you have more sources of income.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?

“Music is a language we all speak, it unites! Looking at myself as a Chinese artist, it took a while to actually get into the ‘western’ scene and vice versa, it took a while before the scene opened up in China. Now it’s accepted, but the industry needs to get rid of prejudices in general.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?

“Less online more offline, less about the social media aspect, more about just being in the present moment and having a good fucking time!”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?

“Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin ‘Don't You Worry Child’. Fight me if you disagree.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 16:36

Style: 
“It ranges from tech-house to melodic techno to sometimes even trap.”
Best known for: 
“My large personality.”
Tune of the year: 
“Luminn ‘Resurgence’.” 

Poll 2020: Deadmau5

64
Deadmau5
Up
7

Deadmau5’s appearance in this year’s Top 100 DJs poll is not all that surprising – after all, Joel Zimmerman has been at the forefront of the EDM scene for over 15 years. With his distinctive masked look and grandiose shows, he’s done more than almost anyone else within dance music to blur the boundaries between DJing and live performance.

Like many top-tier DJs, he’s kept himself busy in 2020 despite lockdowns the world over curtailing touring. To satisfy the demand for performances, Zimmerman played a trio of intimate drive-in shows in his native Canada before committing to similar but more sizable headline appearances across the United States.

Before returning to live performance, the EDM pioneer launched a brand-new streaming service – Mau5trap.tv – via a rare show from his TESTPILOT techno alter-ego and released a fully functioning version of his OSC/PILOT performance software, an interactive “control surface” that was first developed for his live shows. To round off another action-packed year, he recently released his first single of 2020, a disco and electrofunk-influenced collaboration with The Neptunes entitled ‘Pomegranate’.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 16:31

Best known for: 
Having a mouse head

Poll 2020: Julian Jordan

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Julian Jordan
Up
22

In 2019, Julian Jordan re-entered the Top 100 DJs list after missing out the year before. He’s retained his position and jumped up 22 places this year, once again proving the popularity of the trademark sound he’s been developing and refining since releasing his earliest singles on Spinnin’ Records eight years ago.

The Dutch DJ/producer has long spoken about the correlation between the music he makes and the sound fans hear during his headlining club and festival sets. Because of that, we weren’t surprised to hear that he used lockdown as an excuse to work on a swathe of forthcoming productions. “This year I’ve been focusing more on my own signature sound,” he explains via email. “I’ve been in the studio on a daily basis and there are a lot more tracks coming.”

Jordan is keen to inspire aspiring producers too, and recently joined forces with pal Martin Garrix’s STMPD RCRDS label to release his first-ever ‘producer pack’: a digital bundle comprising a 105-minute masterclass explaining his creative and production process, along with an extensive sample-pack containing tons of signature sounds. 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Netflix, new studio monitors and Ubereats!”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“I have noticed how important it is to rest, eat healthily, exercise and spend time with family and friends – I definitely didn’t get enough rest when I was touring a lot. We were forced to think about other ways to spread our music and shows across the world.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?

“Everyone should make it their main priority to create more awareness about the fact that racism in the dance music industry still exists. Speak up when you see this or notice this behaviour! I would love to see more anti-racism messages and movements at festivals and within the music industry in general.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?

“I honestly really want to see the gender gap change within the dance music industry. We need to end unequal rights for women in the music industry by giving them more opportunities to be heard and seen. There are so many amazing female DJs, but they are still underrepresented. This doesn't only apply to the women on stage, but also to women working behind the scenes in the industry.”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?

“To me, it’s ‘Levels’ by Avicii. The response when you play this track to a crowd is so sick, it doesn’t matter what crowd you are playing for.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 16:21

Style: 
“My DJ style is all about energy.”
Best known for: 
“My own sound – you can hear it in all of my recent productions. Energy, emotion, rhythm, it’s all in there!”
Tune of the year: 
“Bleu Clair – ‘Need U’.”

Poll 2020: Deniz Koyu

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Deniz Koyu
Up
9

In a recent interview for Plugin Alliance, Deniz Koyu mentions a few of the places that he’s played: Ultra in Miami “a couple of times”, Australia’s Future Music Festival, Creamfields and the main stage at Tomorrowland, just to name a few. He tosses off the list of highlights casually, as if it’s not such a huge deal.

But, of course, those gigs were actually massive deals, and you don’t get to play dates like those by slacking, even during a time when festival fun is impossible. “I’ve been in the studio most of the time, focusing on my productions and trying to push my personal boundaries,” Koyu says. “Besides the music, I’ve also started working on a new side-project this year, which is based in fashion, something I have been wanting to do for a long time but couldn’t dedicate time to during the usual crazy tour life — more news on this will follow next year.” Also, it seems, congratulations are in order: “I got married this summer!”

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Spending more time with my family and friends. Staying productive in the studio. Self-educating myself on new hobbies such as photography, cooking and latte-art.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“The most important one should be that we, as a community, need to be supportive of each other and realise that we are all sitting in the same boat.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?

“Since my parents are Turkish and immigrated into Germany when they were young, they have raised me with a very open mindset towards all other cultures and ethnicities, embracing equality, respect and tolerance as some of my core values. Thus, I make sure to surround myself with people who share those same core values, whether it’s the people I choose to work within this industry or private friends. If I do come across racism within the dance music scene, which I have personally experienced rarely, I raise my voice and don’t remain silent.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?

“I personally try to support any newcomer talents that I come across in whichever way I can. I also love to share my knowledge in music production and regularly shoot tutorials, which I hope can help people to get their first release on one of the influential dance labels and push their careers.”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?

“Daft Punk ‘One More Time’.” 

 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 16:17

Style: 
“Progress house, electro house, dance.”

Best known for: 
 “‘Tung!’, ‘I Wanna Know (Alesso & Deniz Koyu Remix)’, ‘Paradise’ with Nicky Romero.”

Tune of the year: 
“Calvin Harris, The Weeknd ‘Over Now’.”


Poll 2020: Brennan Heart

78
Brennan Heart
Re-entry
0

Brennan Heart has been working in the music scene since he was 18, which is now 20 years ago. In that time he admits there have been a whole load of ups and downs, and so he decided he wanted to share them in his new book, HARD, which is available for free from his website. “I really wanted to show [the music industry's] struggles but also beautiful moments, to show you what made me into who I am today,” he says.

This year he has also enjoyed more time at home with family, while his highlight was spending a lot of time in his new studio making lots of new tracks, which has resulted in his collaboration-heavy new upcoming album ‘Brennan Heart & Friends’. “I try to take each song as it is, whether translated to pure hardstyle or more radio-suitable music. Last year I worked together with the Metropole Orchestra to recreate my hardstyle song ‘Hold On To Tomorrow’ as a classical piece for the national campaign of KWF, a Dutch Cancer Society.”

He signs off by saying he is also working on a “three-minute hairstyle song”, which surely would be a world's first.

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Spending time with my family and kids, my new studio complex, and my Boretti barbecue!”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“You shouldn’t take things for granted. As an industry, we should be thankful for every opportunity we get to travel around the world doing what we love.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?

“We need to educate people about the history of racism. Especially when it comes to dance music, we have a lot to thank for the African-American contribution to the music we call dance today.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?

“I think it’s most important for people to realise that this fast-paced industry requires hard work. It’s a quick world with a lot of macho behaviour, while in fact, we should care much more about each other.”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?

“Avicii ‘Levels’.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 16:09

Style: 
Hardstyle
Best known for: 
“‘Imaginary’ (with Jonathan Mendelsohn), ‘Lose My Mind’ (with Wildstylez) and ‘All On Me’ (with Armin van Buuren).”
Tune of the year: 
“Armin van Buuren ‘Mask’.”

Poll 2020: Pink Panda

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Pink Panda
New Entry
0

UK duo Pink Panda are celebrating their debut into the Top 100 DJs poll this year. Gaining notoriety through remixing the likes of David Guetta, Dua Lipa, Bruno Mars and Becky Hill, their productions have gained worldwide acclaim and millions of streams. In the clubs they’ve regularly toured Europe and Asia; in July they were the first international act to play in Wuhan’s I’m Han club since the pandemic.

Being based in China the duo have luckily been able to continue touring once the clubs reopened earlier this year, plus they’ve been keeping themselves busy releasing music. “With regards to the personal pursuit of contributing to the way we’d like to see the world and industry, we released a track we are really proud of called ‘People (Get Together)’ at the end of the summer,” they tell DJ Mag. “This track really resembles the way we see the world we want to live in. The music video’s vibes are so good, so that’s definitely up there on the list of 2020 accomplishments.” 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Making new music — there’s actually a 10-track double EP full of exciting collabs with some of our closest DJ friends from all around the globe coming soon; boxsets; and nights in with mates on Zoom.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“We’ve learned that we are a creative industry that has been fighting back with new ways to monetise music consumption with innovative models. But it’s also clear how vulnerable our business is. This period has to serve the purpose of pursuing sustainable ways of organising events and festivals in which we will become more earth- and life-friendly.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?

“We must all actively call out racism when we see or experience it! There must be a zero-tolerance approach moving forward, the next generation of kids give us hope — inclusivity is at the core of their belief system.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?

“In the future, the aim is to launch a global Panda academy to help develop talented producers and DJs from all backgrounds, race and gender. The corporate side of the music industry urgently needs more diversity, and this can only be achieved by educating young people and helping them achieve.”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?

“There isn’t one we can agree on.”

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 16:04

Style: 
“House/bigroom/trap/hardstyle.”
Best known for: 
“David Guetta & Sia ‘Flames (Pink Panda remix)’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Have to go for our boy Joel Corry’s banger ‘Head & Heart’.”

Poll 2020: Swedish House Mafia

84
Swedish House Mafia
Down
42
After reuniting at Ultra Music Festival 2018, the trio of Axwell, Ingrosso and Steve Angello re-established themselves as one of the most talked-about electronic acts in the world. Their following 15-date tour saw them make stops at Creamfields, the Singapore Grand Prix, Ultra Europe and Ushuaïa Ibiza, as well as three sold-out arena shows in their native Stockholm. But after it finished, aside from a competition to win a free AAA lifetime pass and a Berlin pop-up shop, all went quiet from the Swedish House Mafia camp.
 
Despite playing a raft of new music during their tour, none of it was forthcoming in terms of a release, which would seem the next logical step in their return. The only word to surface came from American hip-hop producer, Mike Dean — who has worked with the likes of 2Pac, Kanye West, Jay-Z and Travis Scott — who posted a picture on Instagram of him working alongside SHM in the studio. It was captioned "COOKIN IN THE STUDIO WITH SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA". But fans are still waiting to see if new music really is on its way.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 15:58

Best known for: 
Big room hits like ‘One’

Poll 2020: Plastik Funk

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Plastik Funk
New Entry
0

Since his 2003 debut with the big riffs of his proggy ‘Do It Right’ EP, Spanish house DJ/producer Plastik Funk has built a solid back catalogue of radio-friendly electro-house bangers on labels like Spinnin’, HEXAGON and Tiger Records as well as remixing Deadmau5, David Guetta, Robyn and Shaggy on the way. 

Besides his string of singles, he’s also commissioned plenty of compilations including Germany’s ‘Ministry Of Sound 2009 Sessions’. As a DJ, Plastik Funk, real name Rafael Ximenez-Carrillo, has played high-profile DJ sets worldwide at festivals including Mayday, Sensation White and Love Parade, as well as holding down a summer residency at the legendary Space Ibiza. 

Collaborations with the likes of UK rapper Sneakbo and German artist Tujamo have bought him international crossover success and he’s also had big tunes this year in the shape of his synth-heavy ‘Push It’ and with his euphoric rework of the Pointer Sisters’ ’80s hit ‘Dare Me’ together with NERVO and Tim Morrison. 


What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Music, sports, family.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“How important it is that the music scene sticks together and helps each other in bad times like this.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?

“I think it’s up to everyone, no matter the genre of music you play, or where you’re from, to come together to help offer a seat at the table and offer equal opportunities for all races.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?

“For me, music and the music scene has the power to show the world that we are all the same, and with talent and work for our passion, we can make it anywhere. I constantly receive and search independently for new music and aim to support artists from all over the world, both on live bills and within my sets. That's what I love about music, it’s an international language and brings people from all over the world together regardless of race, gender or orientation.”

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?

“Barbara Tucker feat. Darryl D’Bonneau, ‘Stop Playing With My Mind’.”

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 15:55

Style: 
“Bliss-House / Future-House / Bass-House.”
Best known for: 
‘Dare Me’, my collaboration with NERVO & Tim Morrison, and my collaboration with Tujamo, ‘WHO’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Dua Lipa ‘Don’t Start Now (Purple Disco Machine Remix)’.”

Poll 2020: Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano

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Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano
New Entry
0

Like most of us, Sunnery and Ryan have been keeping their actions closer to home of late. Featuring singer (and fellow Amsterdammer) RANI, ‘Life After You’ brought the summer some pulse. Release-wise, the boys swiftly doubled down with ‘Devotion’, before acing a remix of Oliver Heldens & Kiki Bun’s ‘Break This Habit’ in September.

The duo has also been using their label as a lightning rod for new talent, launching their first SONO Music challenge in June. Budding producers competed to secure a release on the label, with Italian duo Twolate first past the post a couple of months later. Further talent building has also occurred through their online DJ Strategy and Performance course (in tandem with the e-learning platform School Of House). “We've heard many inspiring stories from people who followed the course while being in quarantine,” they say, “and that’s been a really good feeling.”

Sexy By Nature, their radio show, marked its sixth broadcast year in 2020, while they’ve also been filling the show gap with some visually arresting live streams. 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Family, friends and music.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“We need to act more as one big family. We're all in this together and we need each other to get through this. Everyone plays a part in our industry’s ecosystem and to get back where we left it we need to really look after each other, both physically and mentally.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?

“The first step is most important and that's acknowledging it is an issue in our industry. Only if we accept this can we work towards solutions. But please never forget house music is built on inclusiveness. And that's the way it should be.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?

“It's important we keep talking about this topic with each other, especially amongst industry peers. Find solutions together. That's where change starts. Our culture has been built on inclusiveness so we should all embrace that again.”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?

Sunnery: “Joe T Vanelli ‘Get It On’.”
Ryan: “Oxia ‘Domino’.”

 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 14:05

Style: 
“Body rocking tribal house filled with drums and vocals.”
Best known for: 
“Rocking clubs and festivals around the world with our signature drums! SONO Music and our Sexy By Nature events and radio show.”
Tune of the year: 
“Sofi Tukker, Novak, Yax.x ‘Emergency’.”

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