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Poll 2020: Aryue

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China's dance music icon Aryue has had a big year despite the global pandemic. He released music with major players like Spinnin' Records, Smash The House and Sony, and tried to continue to bring some of his homeland's culture to his music, having started doing so with last year's smash single with Vigel, ‘Guangzhou'.
 
“I am also constantly learning to improve my production level,” he says, adding that he is delighted to have worked with such big labels this year. He also says he managed to do plenty of shows despite Coronavirus, which appeared but was contained quickly in his native China. 
 
“We have a very different dance music market here in China,” he tells DJ Mag. “Now bounce is popular, I don't really like it, so my passion is still trance music.” To that end, expect “a lot of big collabs” in the near future that will continue to build on his trance tradition.
 
 
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown? 
 
“Faith, dreams, good music.”
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis? 
 
“The industry needs to create more online venues where artists can make money without relying on touring! Monetisation of social networks, live streams etc.”
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene? 
 
“Make more music and videos that will bring all people together, like 39 Kingdom did in their latest song ‘Make Love Not War’. Unfortunately, not many EDM artists mentioned this topic."
 
 
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive? 
 
“Since I am Chinese I will try to bring more Eastern culture into my music, I hope people will like it.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time? 
 
“Benny Benassi ‘Satisfaction’."

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 12:13

Style: 
“Bass house, trance, hard trap, hardstyle."
Best known for: 
“‘Guangzhou', released together with Vigel."
Tune of the year: 
“David Guetta, Morten 'Kill Me Slow’.”

Poll 2020: Burak Yeter

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Burak Yeter does not do things by halves… His recent summer tour saw him taking a 100-strong orchestra on the road for six social-distanced shows in lavish arenas and auditoriums around Turkey, while his recent streams have taken place in breathtaking settings such as national parks, mountains and an airport runway in front of a ruddy great jumbo jet!

His sound is just as bold: Renowned for getting his guitar out and playing live over his sets, Burak’s been grafting away at the harsh EDM coalface for over 15 years now and has developed a unique signature style that’s cooked sweet and slow and glistens with major key mainstream flavour. Adapting to this year’s (hopefully temporary) streaming culture instantly, his eye for big visual performances and video technology has scored big numbers with both his own live streams and performances at key online events such as EXIT and Beachattack. His release-rate has been just as exciting, too, as ‘Teenage Runaway’, ‘Fly Away’ and ‘Just Miss Love’ with Benny Benassi peppered our turbulent year, providing perfect poppy escapism during these trying times. Expect even bigger measures from the multi-instrumentalist in 2021.  

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Virtual concerts — I had several because the awareness of the music can’t stop! I also had more time for the studio and productions, and symphonic orchestra projects.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“Unity and solidarity. We shall be closer and support each other in our industry. If we have more collaboration, we can improve a lot.”

 

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

“There is a huge reaction against racism. Me and my team support all this reaction against it. Every single person is equal in the world. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter where you came from.”

 

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

“When the world stopped and locked down, I had virtual concerts with one-hour performances and a huge video team behind me. We also had symphonic concerts in six different cities and respecting social distance rules. We raised awareness with all these concerts and made a sound to all the world. It was a big success, especially to create events for 100 musicians who hadn’t performed in six months. It was a great contribution to them financially and mentally.”

 

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

“Michael Jackson ‘Billie Jean’.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 12:01

Style: 
“B-House. The B comes from first letter of Burak, it’s my own style and sound between 95 and 105bpm.”
Best known for: 
“‘Tuesday’. Released in 2016, it’s been No.1 in 95 countries.”
Tune of the year: 
“Tiesto ‘The Business’.”

Poll 2020: Mike Williams

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Historically there has always been strong Dutch representation in the Top 100 DJs poll, and this year is no exception. It should surprise no-one to see Mike Williams amongst the contingent of Netherlands-based DJs in the chart: after all, 2020 marks the Spinnin' Records regular’s fourth successive year in the Top 100. Given that his popularity has traditionally been built on a tireless touring schedule, this is a significant achievement.

Unlike many other DJs in our poll, Williams has already returned to touring. After quarantining in Taiwan for two weeks in September, he was allowed to perform a quartet of sell-out shows at some of the country’s biggest venues.

Up until that point, the jocular Dutchman had devoted much of his time this year to studio work. The result was a trio of hugely popular singles: Curbi collaboration ‘Take Me There’, ‘Make You Mine’, with Moa Lisa, and the recently released Justin Mylo joint production, ‘Face Up To The Sun’. He also found time to remix Tiësto’s ‘Blue’, a rework that has so far notched up around 400,000 plays on YouTube alone.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 11:56

Best known for: 
Collabs with Hardwell and R3hab

Poll 2020: Black Coffee

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South African house music star Black Coffee (Nkosinathi Maphumulo) treated the lockdown as some much-needed downtime, recuperating after endless touring by making tunes and spending time with his family. The dynamic artist still found an opportunity to release the huge single ‘Ready For You’ on Ultra Music, featuring the vocals of Celeste, and live-streamed a DJ performance from the World Heritage Site, Sterkfontein Caves in South Africa, where human fossils millions of years old have been found. He also played for EXIT festival’s Life Stream, which asked viewers to donate to the UN World Food Programme.
Meanwhile, Black Coffee continued to develop his new streaming platform, which he says will launch soon. “It’s something I’ve been working on for years, and during lockdown, I had time to concentrate on getting it out there,” he says. “It’s basically a platform that I want to launch and help the music scene on the African continent. Our market is Africa first before we can concentrate on the world. Look out for GongBox!”

 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown? 

“Music. I’ve had time to listen to a lot of it, and work on some new music as well. Also, I’ve had time to spend with family. And there’s been no travelling at all. I’d like to think I’m in my best form right now having spent time at home.”

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis? 

“I feel like not just our industry, but everyone should have a plan B and plan C. We should have plans for if such a time comes again and one has bills to pay.”

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

“Us as DJs should be loud — we should be the loudest because we are the ones that unify people.”

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

“There’s a big scene of dance music producers in South Africa that really don’t have a structure. Over the years, I’ve been one of the people trying to help these producers have a structure.” 

 

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

“A song that comes to mind immediately would have to be ‘Show Me Love’, Robin S.”

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 11:53

Style: 
“I guess it’s house music!”

Best known for: 
“‘Superman feat. Bucie’, which later became tied with ‘Get It Together feat. Drake and Jorja Smith’.”
Tune of the year: 
“A song that comes to mind immediately would be TekniQ, ‘Amasiko’.”

Poll 2020: Tungevaag

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Another new entry joins the Top 100 DJs poll, this time hailing from Norway. Martin Tungevaag — known by just his surname to his legions of fans — has been a household name in Scandinavia since 2014, when he first broke through with his Kontor Records-released hit ‘Wicked Wonderland’ and follow-up ‘Samsara 2015’ — the latter of which topped the charts in Finland and came close to doing the same in Norway and Sweden. This earned him nominations in the Spellemannprisen and Grammis (the Norwegian and Swedish equivalent of the Grammy awards). ‘Samsara’ was produced together with Swedish artist Robbin Söderlund under the moniker Tungevaag & Raaban, and Tungevaag went on to collaborate with his own countrymen Alan Walker and K-391, with whom he put together the 2019 rework of Mangoo’s millennium smash hit ‘Eurodancer’ — now called ‘Play’.

“I have been as creative as possible, shot some music videos, made a lot of new music and spent much time with my family,” says Tungevaag, when asked what he got up to in 2020. To cap all that off with a placement in the Top 100 certainly can’t be a bad thing.

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Family, FL Studio and my headphones.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“Think about creative solutions and to always have a backup plan.”

 

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

“The dance music scene, as with every part of society, has to play a role in making everyone feel included. Us DJs need to address the topic openly and communicate the values of the dance music industry, which always have been about including all people no matter what background you might have.”

 

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

“I make my fans feel they are part of this journey with me and that nothing is impossible to accomplish.”

 

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

“Eiffel 65 ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 11:47

Style: 
“Dance electronic pop and future bounce.”
Best known for: 
“‘Wicked Wonderland’, ‘Knockout’, ‘Peru’ and ‘Play’ (with Alan Walker).”
Tune of the year: 
“Kygo ‘What's Love Got To Do With It’.”

Poll 2020: Deborah De Luca

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Introduced by Pete Tong as ‘The Techno Queen of Naples’ when she made her BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix debut in 2019, Italy’s Deborah de Luca now makes another debut — this time in the Top 100 DJs poll. Though it’s no surprise; Pete Tong is far from her only fan. Deborah has legions of them, who can be seen profusing their everlasting praise under anything she posts on social media. 

Though she’s plenty more than a social media darling: until COVID stopped touring in its tracks, Deborah’s eye-watering schedule took her from Lebanon to London to Valencia to Paris to Bucharest and Croatia in a matter of weeks. She could be spotted at Resistance Miami, Ostend Beach, Brunch in the Park, Verknipt ADE or Eden Ibiza, where she held a residency in 2019 alongside Tronic boss Christian Smith. 

But de Luca — who was born and raised in Scampia, the housing estate made famous through the Italian crime film and TV series Gomorrah — hasn’t slowed down since locking down, releasing her second album, ‘She Sleeps’, this August, to rave reviews. With a work ethic like this, and a spirit all her own, it’s no wonder she’s found so many fanatics.

 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown? 

“My dog, my studio and my home in Naples. I spent a long time in the studio at home during the lockdown. It’s where I finished my second album ‘She Sleeps’, which was released back in August.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“That everything can end in a second, without any preparation. Now I see my future differently. I make different choices, and my relationship with money has changed too.”

 

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

“I actually believe that in the dance music scene there is not much racism. I find much more sexism!”

 

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

“I personally do not follow fashions — the music I make is the fruit of my imagination. It is from my bag of life experiences and from what I like — that excites me.”

 

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

“That’s an impossible question. I can only say that if at the end of the set you play ‘Domino’ by Oxia, wherever you are, people get excited.”

 

 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 11:42

Style: 
“Full of contamination, but mostly techno. My kind of techno.”
Best known for: 
“You tell me!”
Tune of the year: 
“FBK ‘Headless (Len Faki Hardspace Mix)’.”

Poll 2020: Mike Perry

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Swedish DJ and producer Mike Perry’s leap into the big-time came in 2016 when his catchy tropical jam ‘The Ocean’ featuring Shy Martin became a huge hit, racking up over 375 million streams. He’s since recorded big tunes for Spinnin’ and DF Records and has kept the pressure up in 2020 with a string of releases featuring a variety of artists including Orange Villa, Sarah De Warren, Wanja Janeva and Nathaniel. 

Perry’s music is big room with a heart, full of massive, fizzy synth riffs, emotive vocals and a radio-friendly sensibility that has won him lots of young fans as well as making him a rising star on the festival circuit. His DJ sets, meanwhile — as demonstrated by his appearance on the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Virtual Festival — are an accessible, high-octane journey through vocal and electro-house. Aside from his busy release schedule, Perry is also currently building a new recording studio in his home to cook up more musical treats for his fans.

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Spending quality time with my kids and family. Got a new house and currently building a new studio in there. Making music.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“Never take anything for granted. I’ve seen a lot of damage happen during this crisis, but I have also seen a lot of people coming up with great pieces of music and other ideas.”

 

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

“Music has always been a place that is free of racism, there are creators and fans in almost all genres from different cultures. I realise it’s a complex question for the world, but in music it should be less complex and much easier to correct. We are all the same!”

 

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

“I’m trying to work with a lot of unsigned talent that is strong on the creation side/vocal side of things. Almost all of my tracks feature people that are great and very skilful, but maybe a bit less well known.”

 

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

“Since I grew up during the glory days of melodic trance, I’ll pick Motorcycle ‘As The Rush Comes’, it had a big impact on me when I was a kid.”

 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 11:38

Style: 
“Electronic music.”
Best known for: 
“‘The Ocean’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Topic, A7S ‘Breaking Me’.”

Poll 2020: Blastoyz

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A new entry in this year’s Top 100 DJs poll, Israeli psytrance DJ Blastoyz has become an increasingly celebrated name in the scene over the past few years thanks to his cinematic take on the sound. His tracks’ uplifting melodies, bubbling basslines, stirring vocals and spoken samples have earned him the support of legendary acts like Armin van Buuren and Above & Beyond. 

A video series on his YouTube channel, titled In Between, will give you an insight into the busy 12 months Blastoyz – real name Kobi Nigreker – had before COVID-19 put everything on pause. He has used this time to make lots of new music, including a recent single ‘Heart On The Tree’ with Skazi. The DJ played an energised psytrance set from a stunning location as part of DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs Virtual Festival back in August and, on top of everything else, managed to release his own in-browser video game, High In Space, to encourage fans to vote for him in the poll. Fans will be ecstatic to see him play in the real world once again when it’s safe to do so.

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Producing music, playing Call Of Duty, drinking ginger and lemon shots.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“That we as a whole can overcome any struggle, the music connects us even in the age of social distancing.”

 

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

“The world and especially the music scene needs to have zero tolerance for racism. Music is one language that connects us all, no matter what colour, race or gender.”

 

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

“My agenda was always about spreading love and happiness wherever I go. Touching people with my music, it was something that always pushed me forward from a young age.”

 

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

“Avicii ‘Levels’.”

 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 11:15

Style: 
“Psytrance.”
Best known for: 
“‘Mandala’, ‘Parvati Valley’ and ‘After Dark’ (with Seven Lions & Fiora).”
Tune of the year: 
“Ranji & Ghost Rider ‘Can't Sleep’.”

Poll 2020: Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman

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Fresh faces in this year’s Top 100 DJs poll, Swedish DJ and producer duo Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman have been making the rounds on the progressive scene for the best part of 10 years. They released their first single, ‘Ignited’, on Nero Recordings in 2011, and have since shared records on Spinnin’ Records, Size Records, and their own Buce Records. Predominantly home to their own productions, Buce Records has also welcomed Vangelis and Wyman’s peers in the form of Dirty Twist, Envyro, and Noizy Mark.

Their DJing and production, the duo say, is “Swedish style”, with supersized festival anthems in both their sets and back catalogue. Fitting, then, that they’ve played at some of the world’s biggest dance music festivals, including Belgium’s Tomorrowland, and had their tracks shared in sets by the likes of Dirty South, Martin Garrix, Swedish House Mafia, and Tiësto. 

During lockdown, the two artists spent much of their free time in the studio and have written and produced around ten “signature” tracks ready for release when the “industry rises again”.  

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Studio, family, refurnishing our houses – we never had the time before.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis? 

“Music will always be the keystone of your career, if you don’t have the music you could possibly fade away both financially and profile-wise. Know your rights and be careful!”

 

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

“Racism will never be accepted, music and the festivals is where we all join up and have a good time regardless of where you come from. Educate the uneducated. Good vibes only!”

 

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

“Never judge a book by its cover, you never know who will change your life (life-long motto of ours). Some of the best collaborations we have had as writers/producers have been with slightly less known musicians and producers.”

 

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

“This is a tough one. But considering mixing, innovation, overall playability and recognition: ‘Greyhound’ by Swedish House Mafia.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 11:13

Style: 
“Progressive mixed with house and other genres. Swedish style.”
Best known for: 
“‘Payback’, ‘ID2’ etc.”
Tune of the year: 
“Dlugosh & Paul Green ‘Heart Attack’.”

Poll 2020: 22Bullets

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22Bullets’ rise to prominence over the last decade arguably mirrors South-East Asia’s emergence as a dance music powerhouse region, and the Thai capital one of the scene’s major focal points. Having narrowly missed out on placing in the Top 100 DJs poll for the past two years (charting at No.146 and No.134 in 2018 and 2019 respectively), the Bangkok player — real name: Varun Sony — has secured a spot for himself this time.

Refusing to take his foot off the pedal at any point over the past 12 months, albeit with less physical mileage involved, tracks like ‘Looking At The Moon’, ‘SIAM’ and ‘Crazies Do’ all landed over summer to big reception, alongside ‘Queen Of The Desert’, made with Mexican EDM-violinist Mariana BO. Just one from a number of recent collaborations, which also include work with Timmy Trumpet and Dash Berlin, it’s all proof that good things come to those who wait.

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown? 

“Staying positive and always trying to invest in time to improve your craft. I have been spending more time learning how to improve my music production skills.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis? 

“There is never a secure situation in life so always prepare and live to the fullest, always chase your dream — don’t wait until tomorrow.”

 

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

“There is no wall between music, we are all connected no matter where you are from but we are all human and have equal rights. So it’s essential to treat each other with respect.”

 

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

“I have been experimenting a lot with the traditional Thai sound, as you can hear on one of my recent releases on KSHMR's label. I also want to showcase some of the local home-grown artists who I believe in that can do great things.”

 

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

“Paul van Dyk's ‘For An Angel’ always gets me moving.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 11:04

Style: 
“Electro/house.”
Best known for: 
“22Bullets.”
Tune of the year: 
“Tiesto ‘The Business’.”

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